South Euclid, University Heights Opt To Keep Pools Closed!

FEATURED PHOTO: SOUTH EUCLID MAY GEORGINE WELO

Ideastream.org, By Taylor Haggerty, Posted May 21st 2020

Public pools around Ohio are cleared to start opening later this month. But some cities have opted to keep their pools closed to prevent further spread of the coronavirus.

South Euclid won’t open its pool or splash park at all this summer, said Director of Community Services Keith Benjamin. The decision is in part because the neighborhood has been a hotspot for COVID-19 in the county, he said.

“The main issue here is the challenge of practicing safe social distancing in our pools, as well as the aggressive disinfecting and the maintenance that would be required,” Benjamin said.

Playgrounds, ballfields and the city’s dog park will also remain closed. The city will not issue permits for either block parties or garage sales until health officials deem it to be safe.

“Because there is no playbook for managing this pandemic, we have an obligation to take a cautious approach,” Benjamin said.

South Euclid officials are open to modifications or changes as more information becomes available, he said.

University Heights residents will also be without a pool this summer. It isn’t possible to maintain social distancing and a high enough level of sanitization, Mayor Michael Brennan said.

“We’re a very densely populated area. Our pool is very popular during the summer time and is frequently crowded,” Brennan said. “We don’t believe that social distancing can be effectively had at our pool.”

Limiting the number of people allowed in at one time wouldn’t be a fair or equitable way to run the pool, Brennan said, given the number of people who use it.

The city has evaluated the potential risk of allowing residents to use the pool, he said, and determined the risk is too high given the amount of sanitizing needed.

“The amount of risk in operating and participating in that particular swimming pool under the pandemic conditions is beyond the acceptable risk we expect any resident to assume,” Brennan said. “Our pool is perfectly safe generally, but not during this pandemic.”

University Heights’ Summer Concert Series is also canceled this year, Brennan said, along with other city events such as movie nights, tennis lessons and yoga classes.

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