Arlington Aquatics Uses New Safety Protocols to Build Trust with the Community
By Melissa Entralgo, Arlington Parks & Recreation
Posted on July 21, 2020, July 21, 2020

Arlington Aquatics staff is working to keep the City of Arlington’s outdoor pools safe destinations for families looking to beat the Texas heat.

Following industry leaders, Arlington Aquatics has implemented many safety protocols and changes this summer designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19

Hugh Smith Recreation Center reopened in a limited capacity on May 18. The City’s two family aquatic centers followed, opening in limited capacity on May 30 with the remaining outdoor public pools opening on June 12 with new safety measures. In addition to its usual goal of giving families a safe place to have fun in the water, Arlington Aquatics manager Maria Campbell said that “park staff have an additional objective this season, to build trust with our community and visitors.”

In a normal summer, Arlington Aquatics serves up to 2,000 visitors a day at the outdoor pools. These days, however, the operating capacity is at 50%. To ensure customers get to enjoy the outdoor pools with social distancing and in a safe manner, two-hour reservations are in place with a mandatory 30-minute sanitation shutdown in between each time slot. Pool reservations can be made online—enjoy 25% off your online reservation today! (discount automatically applied at checkout)

Upon arrival, visitors will line up outside the gates following the social distance markers until the gates are open for the next time slot. Visitors can expect no contact check-ins. Each pool has a designated entrance and exit, and high-touch surface areas are disinfected regularly throughout the day.

“Everyone has been very professional and has made sure we are safe,” pool visitor Charmaine Angevine said recently. “But these are standards that they have always held.”

Both staff and visitors are expected to self-screen before entering.

The number of lifeguards on duty has not changed, providing even more coverage to the reduced capacity of people, Campbell said. All staff, except for lifeguards on surveillance duty, are required to wear masks. Lifeguards are required to wear masks when not on a lifeguard chair.

Throughout the park, signs remind visitors to practice social distancing. Seating capacity has been reduced to help maintain social distancing outside of the water. Fewer deck chairs are near the pools, lowering chances of guests sitting closely together, and grassy areas have been utilized to provide more safe seating areas.

“Everyone couldn’t be more helpful! I feel safe every time I am here and thoroughly enjoy my time!” visitor Donnie Haragan said.

Staff have been working hard to ensure the park remains clean, Campbell said. Along with a mandatory “sanitation shutdown” every two hours, guards carry individual spray bottles with them and use the time during rotations to spray high touch point items like handrails, door handles, and fixtures every 20 minutes.

Visitor Maria Dominguez said she noticed the sanitation efforts.

“I feel safe. I see hand sanitizer everywhere. I see them clean-up after me and many times before me.” Dominguez said.

Visitor Cindy Newton, who is a mom of an active 5-year-old and a wife whose spouse is in the high-risk category for COVID-19, has been hesitant about going out and possibly exposing herself and family.

“After first reading about all of the safety precautions Arlington Aquatics was taking to keep all of us safe, my family and I decided to head to BK for some very much needed fun.” Newton said. “Not once did I feel nervous or anxious, as these safety precautions are what we hoped for and have come to expect from the city of Arlington. This mom was very happy to be able to get out of the house and do so safely. Thank you, Arlington Aquatics and the City of Arlington, for taking care of your citizens!”

On top of the outdoor pool changes, Hugh Smith Indoor Pool has also been operating with reservations as well as a limited schedule for lap swim, water walking, and water jogging. Reservations for indoor use have recently been limited to three times per week as the pool continues to reach maximum capacity (42 reservations per day). To check availability and sign up for a time to swim, water walk, or jog, please call Hugh Smith Indoor Pool at 817-275-0513.

“I’m so proud of the extra efforts my staff take daily to ensure we exceed sanitation expectations of our visitors,” Campbell said, “and I appreciate our visitor's patience and flexibility, as their safety and health remain our top priority.”

A comprehensive list of FAQs can be found here.Pool

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