Prince Rupert swimmers can take the plunge again when the Earl Mah Aquatic Centre re-opens in September, after closing in March 2020 due to coronavirus precautions. Seen in this photo is Kobi Franes warming up with some backstrokes in 2018 at the aquatic centre. (File photo/The Northern View)

Earl Mah Aquatic Centre swimming pool to be re-opened

Registration will be necessary for Prince Rupert swimmers to take the plunge

The Earl Mah Aquatic Centre is making a splash by resuming swimming-pool services on Sept. 14, with 20 people allowed into the facility for certain swim times, the City of Prince Rupert announced on Aug. 20.

The aquatic centre has been closed for public use since March 2020 when coronavirus precautions necessitated the closure.

Before taking the plunge, users should note the required changes due to the COVID-19 restrictions, the City said in the notice posted on it’s web-page. There will be lane swims, public use, ‘limited use’ and a specific time set aside for swim-club. There will be no swimming lessons at this time, as well the sauna and steam room will be closed.

“We take our cues from Provincial authorities and other regulatory bodies with respect to protocols, so there is a chance that the public may see some of the protocols change over time as we adapt to changing circumstances,” Veronika Stewart communications manager for the City of Prince Rupert said.

“While we know you’re all ready to dive right in, things will be a bit different than normal, including our opening hours and available services,” the notice said.

“At this time, we are monitoring capacity to ensure physical distancing measures. You are required to pre-register if you’d like to join us for any of our swims. Registration will open on Tuesday, September 8th.”

READ MORE: Second annual B.C. Special Olympics swim meet held at Earl Mah Aquatic Centre

Public swims and ‘Limited Use’ will see the maximum of 20 patrons to ensure that physical distancing protocols can be safely observed.

“The “Limited Use” sections in the pool schedule refer to the opening of both pools and hot tub open with limited capacity, two swim lanes in the deep end, and that diving board and water features may be available,” Stewart said. “Users must be 13-years (or older) during these sessions unless accompanied by an adult.”

Some of the other changes for swimmers will include no use of the change rooms prior to swimming, so patrons will need to be ready to swim upon arrival. Showers will be accessible on the pool deck for use prior to taking a dip. Changing facilities will be available to bathers after their swim with limited numbers permitted in at one time.

Instead of lockers, patrons will be provided a tote-bin to store their belongs on the pool deck, in a visible location. The totes will be disinfected after each use, the City said.

READ MORE: Prince Rupert swimmers leave no doubt at Holiday Invitational

Swimmers can bring their own equipment, such as kickboards, flippers, puddle jumpers, goggles, small personal toys, and water wings. All equipment brought to the pool by patrons can not be shared. Snorkels, balls and large floats are not permitted. Life-jackets will be provided on request.

“Use of the facility will be by registration only, and users will be reminded of the protocols in place when they call to register. Different protocols will be in place for lane swims, based on Lifesaving Society guidelines for safe pool operations – which limit use to one person per swim lane,” Stewart said.

K-J Millar | Journalist 
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