Phase 3 to permit recreational swimming, usher in more people at gatherings


CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — At the Greenbrier YMCA in Chesapeake, the Fourth of July will feel a lot more like a holiday than Memorial Day did five weeks ago. Until now, the pool was for lap swimming only and you had to make an appointment.

“With phase 3, we can open the outdoor pool up for recreational swim, so we’re really targeting Saturday, the Fourth of July, for recreational swim,” said Adam Kahrl, YMCA chief operating officer.

Excitement has been building during this summer, which has been like no other, as we’re all a little hot under the collar trying to navigate the new reality of living with the coronavirus.

“We’ve had a lot of requests through social media, through email, members reaching out and saying ‘When is this gonna happen?'” Kahrl said.

But just like anything else these days, there are limits to recreational swimming. If you’re in the pool with someone from a different household, you’ll have to keep a distance of 10 feet, not just 6 feet. Capacities vary with the size of a particular pool. The limit for the pool at the Greenbrier YMCA is 20.

“We’re in one-hour time slots when people come in for recreational swim,” Kahrl said. “They’ll do an hour of swimming and then we have a 15-minute break to sanitize everything on the deck, to sanitize the restrooms, make sure everything is ready to go. Then we bring the next group in.”

Kahrl says the Fourth of July will have special activities to add to the holiday atmosphere. Members can bring their own chalk to do artwork on the pool decks, they’ll be able to use their noodles for pool races, and there will be costume contests.

Here are some of the other features of phase 3 as it goes into effect Wednesday.

  • 250 people can gather at the same location or event — up from 50 in phase 2.
  • Capacity restrictions are now lifted on restaurants and retail as long as customers continue to maintain their distance.
  • Zoos and museums can now open at 50 percent capacity.
  • Gyms and fitness centers can go up to 75 percent of capacity, up from 30 percent in phase 2.
  • Personal grooming businesses must continue to have staggered appointments to limit the number of people in waiting areas and allow time to disinfect work stations and tools in
    between clients.

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