Visiting the dentist has always required an appointment, but a trip to the public pool in Charlestown – well, in the era of COVID-19, that too requires an appointment.
Cheers went up from the huddled and hot masses in the Town this week when Mayor Martin Walsh announced that the outdoor Clougherty Pool in Doherty Park would open on Wednesday and remain open through Labor Day. In addition, the outdoor Mirabella Pool in the North End is also open now too.
They will operate seven days a week through Labor Day from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The 16 indoor pools operated by Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF) are open only for participating youth attending in-person summer programming at this time, so the only chance to swim outside of youth camps will be at the Clougherty.
Though it came a few days after the massive heat wave last weekend this week, returning to the pool this summer is a major relief in the neighborhood.
“As we experience hotter days in the City of Boston, it’s important residents can access cooling options in our neighborhoods,” said Mayor Walsh. “Our staff has worked tirelessly to develop plans to reopen our community centers and pools in a way that is safe and prevents the further spread of COVID-19 in our city. I encourage residents to take advantage of these options and continue to take all the precautions: wearing face coverings when out, keeping your distance from others, and washing your hands.”
It won’t be as simple as walking up the hill though – as it has been in the past. Visitors who want to swim will have to register for an appointment and can only stay 90 minutes during their swimming slot. That is because the pool is reduced to 40 percent capacity, which boils down to 75 people at a time. Visitors are only allowed to use one session per day, and there will be no walk-ins allowed.
The full list of safeguards from the City are below:
•Visitors must register for a swim time slot at Boston.gov/BCYF-Summer as walk-ins will not be allowed. Due to current regulations, pool capacity has been reduced to less than 40 percent capacity, 75 people per session.
•Registration will go live 24 hours before the following day’s sessions and will remain open until all spots are taken or until the session is half over, whichever comes first.
•When registering for a session, visitors will be asked COVID-19 screening questions. The screening questions will be asked again when checking to the pool for the registered session.
•Sessions will be 90 minutes and visitors are asked to register for and attend one session per day. If visitors register for more than one session per day, BCYF reserves the right to cancel their registration if there is a waitlist of individuals looking to attend.
•Cleaning and disinfecting will occur at opening and closing, and between each swim session.
•Visitors must come dressed to swim as locker rooms/changing areas will be closed. Restrooms (if access is required) can be accessed through a locker room, but visitors cannot use the lockers or changing area.
•Face coverings (covering the nose and mouth) must be worn at all times when not in the water.
•Swimming lessons, which would require close physical contact, will not be offered.
•Social distancing of at least 6 feet is required for all individuals outside of a household group and applies to deck areas, bathrooms, wading areas, the water and the pool deck.
•Children under 8 need an adult in the water with them.
•Three children under 12 are allowed per adult.
Also, the mayor reminded that BCYF is also operating virtual and in-person programming for registered youth at the Charlestown Community Center. Learn more about BCYF’s summer programs at Boston.gov/BCYF-Summer. These programs are in addition to a variety of expanded BCYF programming for teens and over 600 youth jobs through the Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program. BCYF community centers will also continue to distribute meals to youth throughout the summer.