PLANO, Texas - The heat is already here, but many public swimming pools are closed.
The city of Plano has already made the decision to keep outdoor pools closed for the summer. Other cities, like Fort Worth, say their pools won't open this month.
Many pools typically open their season Memorial Day weekend. But under the current guidelines from the CDC and the state, many city parks and recreation departments aren’t sure if they’ll be able to open pools this summer.
Across the metroplex, cities are having to make tough decisions on summer programs and public pools.
The city of Plano has already decided to close all outdoor pools for the summer season.
“We don't want there to be a reoccurrence or a flare up of the virus among our staff that would then force us to take a step back,” said Plano Parks and Rec Director Ron Smith. “We don't want any of our facilities to be traced as a transmission site or where there's been lots of infection.”
Indoor pools in Plano will open for lap swim only at 25 percent capacity on June 1.
“Have better management on the indoor pools that are lap lane only will have one person per lanes swimming,” Smith said. “That’s going to be a lot easier for us to maintain those social distancing requirements then if you consider what a leisure play pool filled with tots, and kids and teens.”
With the city’s current hiring freeze, city officials also haven’t been able to start the four-week hiring and certification process to get the 200 lifeguards needed to open the city’s pools.
For some families already in their swimsuits and ready for summer, the news is a hard pill to swallow.
The city of Dallas is looking at a phased-in approach. But Dallas Parks and Recreation is in phase one of reopening with no date set yet for future phases. Pool openings would be in phase 4, along with splash parks and recreation centers. The department hopes to provide more detailed plans next month.
For now, what is clear is the future opening of public pools is in limbo.
A Fort Worth spokesperson said their pools don’t have a set date for opening right now. City officials say hiring and training staff is also an issue with the current stay at home orders.