Q&A: When will the swimming pools open in Spain?

Q&A: When will the swimming pools open in Spain?
A lifeguard wearing a face mask walks at the Ocean Sevilla pool club in Sevilla this week. Photo: AFP
As the temperature rises it seems inevitable that people are wondering in what phase of Spain’s de-escalation plan the swimming pools will open again.

As usual, the answer isn’t straightforward.

Firstly it depends whether we are talking about a municipal run public pool or one within an urbanization for use of a group of residents.

Here’s what we know so far.

Spain’s Official State Gazette (BOE) detailing the ‘Plan for transition to the new normal’ states in a notice published on May 16 that the opening of public swimming pools can occur during Phase 2 – the same time when swimming is allowed on public beaches.

However, there are conditions.

The pools have to reduce the normal capacity to 30 percent and users must observe social distancing from others not only in the water but also around the pool itself keeping not just themselves but also their towels and belongings at least 2 metres apart from others who do not reside in the same household.

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Plus reservations for the pool must be made in advance. And changing rooms will remain closed.

The BOE also states that strict disinfecting measures must be followed to make sure all public areas are regularly cleaned.

This means that staff have to be available to ensure such conditions are met and in residential community pools that may be unlikely.

Ultimately it has been left to the decision of local councils to decide on whether municipal pools can open and on Residents’ committees to decide whether communal pools can be opened and staffed safely.

For example, Madrid City Hall has said it won’t consider opening the municipal run swimming pools until at least July while the regional president in Castilla-La Mancha has urged mayors to find ways to open swimming pools as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, a statement from Cgcafe, an advisory body for residential administrators, warned that the strict safety regulations were unlikely to be able to be met by most residential communities meaning for the most part, shared pools in urbanizations would likely remain closed.

 

However, there are no restrictions on private pools.

Hotels can open swimming pools from Phase 2 as long as they can meet all the hygiene requirements plus reducing to 30 percent capacity and advanced reservations.

If you are lucky enough to live near the beach then swimming in the sea is your best option – although social distancing conditions must be kept on the beach itself as well as in the water and regulations for entering the beach areas are dependant on rules imposed by local councils. 

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