Swimming pools reopening – What are the new rules?

From today, 25 July, indoor swimming pools and gyms have been allowed to reopen in England for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown began.

As a part of the Government’s plan to slowly get the nation on track for its ‘new normal’, lockdown measures are slowing being rolled back.

However, just because indoor swimming pools are open again doesn’t mean that you can use them exactly as you have before.

Here are the new rules about swimming in communal indoor pools that you need to know…

What are the new rules for swimming pools?

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Swim England has released new guidance called ‘Covid-19: Returning to the pool’, which has been developed with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in a bid to help people get back to swimming as safely as possible.

First and perhaps most obviously is the fact that you shouldn’t go swimming if you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus including temperature, cough or loss of taste and/or smell.

While showers won’t necessarily be closed at pools as a rule, the guidance also requests that people arrive at the pool ‘ready to swim’ and shower at home both before and after swimming.

Social distancing should be maintained between swimmers, and swimmers should avoid ‘wide strokes’ when lanes get busy.

You should choose between the fast, meduim and slow lanes, try not to overtake anyone while swimming, and, if you want to change your speed, ‘think about moving lanes.’

People have also been asked to bring their own equipment such as floats and their own hand sanitiser.

Swimming lessons are allowed, but teachers must stay poolside, children should not share equipment, and just one parent or guardian should accompany each child at a time.

As for the rules in other parts of the UK, Scotland is due to consider reopening indoor pools next month, Northern Ireland will not make a decision on the matter before August 7, and Wales has yet to set a date.

Jane Nickerson, the chief executive of Swim England, said in a foreword to the new English guidelines: ‘We have all been missing the water during the Covid-19 enforced closure of swimming pools.

‘For many of our members across all our disciplines, this will have been the longest period out of the water, which can take a toll on both our physical and mental wellbeing.

‘As the recognised national governing body, Swim England is therefore delighted to be able to produce this guidance to help ensure the safe return to the water once swimming pools are allowed to open once more.

‘Our first priority remains the safety of everyone involved in our sports, be they participants, leisure centre staff, coaches or volunteers.’

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