Pool and Summer Camp Update
On May 2nd, the City made the difficult decision to cancel all 2020 summer recreation programs and events and not open the pool. This was based on concern for the safety and well-being of our residents and staff due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and recommendations for social distancing by state and federal authorities.
In recent weeks, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has been relaxing the restrictions to allow for more freedom of movement and gatherings statewide. On June 1st, Governor Whitmer issued Executive Order 110, which rescinds restrictions on swimming pools and children’s day camp. Both are now permitted to open on Monday, June 8th, albeit only if strict cleaning and safety rules are in place.
The order also permits outdoor social gatherings and events that do not exceed 100 people, with the mandate that participants maintain a six foot distance from one another.
The City is now studying whether we can effectively, efficiently, and affordably open the pool, operate Fruit and Specialty Camps, and hold any Independence Day activities or other city-wide summer events.
These are not easy decisions to make, and we do not expect they will be made quickly. There are many things to consider – the logistics of any of these endeavors at this late date are tremendous, and we must consider what camp and pool experiences will not only be like under these parameters, but also the costs of beginning now to make them happen and to meet all the requirements that are imperative, if we decide to move forward.
We’d like to share with you some of the details we must consider before coming to a decision.
- To open Fruit Camp, we have safety concerns in case of rain or extreme heat. We would normally use the Recreation Center to bring campers and counselors indoors, but if indoor spaces are limited to 10 people, socially distanced and wearing masks, that is no longer an option.
- If Fruit Camps happen in-person, we cannot simultaneously offer the virtual Fruit Camp activities we have been planning for residents who are not comfortable with their children attending in-person camps.
- For a pool opening, verify lifeguard staff are still available.
- And if they are available, will they be available through August if colleges return early in the fall to cope with the pandemic.
- Some of the financial concerns surrounding the pool reopening are huge. The pool normally generates $275,000 in revenue – will there be enough pool passes sold during a pandemic to cover the cost of operating the pool?
- Plus, we need to limit pool capacity to comply with the Executive Order, which means pass holders will likely be turned away if they come at a time when the pool has reached capacity. Will that cause unrest and discontent?
- And, when lifeguards try to enforce social distancing in the pool area, will they be effective? Will residents keep 6 feet apart at all times both in the pool, on the deck and in the locker rooms?
Please understand, we want to offer these popular summer activities as much as you want to engage in them – we just need to examine all of the potential scenarios to determine the wisest course of action at this late date. We hope all residents understand the complexities of these issues, and we ask for your patience as we study the possibilities toward making the best decision for everyone in Huntington Woods.