Government Update on Re-opening Victorian Pools

*Updated 6/10/2020

On Sunday 6 September the Victorian Government released their roadmap, which included references to swimming pool facilities. While LSV acknowledges that the health and safety of the community is the primary concern for Government, the roadmap is challenging for the aquatic industry, with public access to indoor facilities still appearing to be a long way off.

The roadmap will raise further questions for large and small facility operators alike, around: i) financial viability; ii) whether customers will return or not; and, iii) water safety preparation ahead of summer.

For metropolitan Melbourne, outdoor pools can open as part of the Second Step from 28 September. In regional Victoria, outdoor pools can open as part of their Second Step from 14 September.

Factors including weather, operational costs, staff availability and density capacity limits will play a role in decisions on whether outdoor pools will open or not so early in the season.

Pools will be “subject to density requirements with a limit on the number of people who can be in the pool at any one time and how many people can be in the same lanes”.

The table below represents LSV’s understanding of how the roadmap impacts swimming pools within Metropolitan Melbourne and Regional Victoria.

Metropolitan Melbourne

Date / Trigger Point Outdoor Pools Indoor Pools
First Step – From 14 SEPT Closed Closed
Second Step – From 28 SEPT

Subject to achieving average daily case rate of 30-50 cases over previous 14 days (Metro)

Subject to the density quotient (4m2 rule) or 20 patrons maximum in a pool, whichever is lesser. Closed
Third step – *From 19 OCT

Subject to achieving fewer than 5 cases in the last 14 days (state-wide)

Open with density and group size limits – TBC *Closed (‘How we live’ plan)

*Open (‘How we work’ plan)

Last step – From 23 NOV

Subject to achieving no new case for 14 days

Open with density and group size limits – TBC Open subject to safety measures – TBC
COVID-Normal – No date determined

Subject to no new case for 28 days

Open Open

*27/09/2020 – the third step for metro areas was moved forward to the 19th October.

*5/10/20 – DET has provided advice on their Term 4 Operations Guide regarding school pools. Schools with pools should refer to DET.

Regional Victoria

Date / Trigger Point Outdoor Pools Indoor Pools
Second step – From 14 SEPT Open with density and group size limits Closed
Third Step – *from 17 SEPT

Subject to achieving fewer than 5 cases in the last 14 days in Regional Victoria and 0 cases with an unknown source in the last 14 days

4m2 per patron or 50 total, whichever is lesser Closed to the public

School pools open for students

Public pools open for single-school groups at any one time

Last step – From 23 NOV

Subject to achieving no new case for 14 days (state-wide)

Open with density and group size limits – TBC Open subject to safety measures
COVID-Normal – No date determined

Subject to achieving no new case for 28 days

Open Open

Density and group size limits are referenced in the roadmaps, with further details in the Restricted Activity Directions and Media releases as well as individual guidelines being published and circulated by Government.

Research from the World Health Organisation details that the “Risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) from fresh and coastal water or swimming pools and spas water contaminated with faeces is very low.[1]” LSV encourages the public to return to public pools when able to do so – within restrictions.

LSV will work with the aquatic industry over the coming days to determine what feedback should be provided to Government and what recommendations should be put forward regarding the reopening of swimming pools.

For more information refer to the ‘How we live’ and ‘How we work’ roadmap plans which are available from the Victorian Government webpage below:

  • Roadmaps to Reopening

https://www.vic.gov.au/coronavirus-covid-19-restrictions-roadmaps#industry-restrictions-by-region

  • Current Restriction Levels

https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/victorias-restriction-levels-covid-19

  • Second Step Exercise FAQ’s

https://www.vic.gov.au/second-step-FAQs

LSV are compiling a list of outdoor pools who will or will not be reopening at the provided thresholds and timelines and would welcome advice from industry to feedback into government.

[1] World Health Organisation. (2020). Water, sanitation, hygiene, and waste management for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

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