Here’s when swimming pools could open again in England - and the safety measures planned

By Helen Johnson
Friday, 29th May 2020, 3:44 pm
Updated Friday, 29th May 2020, 3:45 pm
Swimming pools have been shut during the lockdown period and continue to remain closed (Photo: Shutterstock)
Swimming pools have been shut during the lockdown period and continue to remain closed (Photo: Shutterstock)

Swimming pools have been shut during the lockdown period and continue to remain closed.

But if you’re a keen swimmer and eager to get back in your local pool, you may be wondering when it’s likely to open again.

Here’s what you need to know.

When could swimming pools reopen?

In England, the government hasn’t yet confirmed when swimming pools will be able to reopen.They are set to remain closed until at least 4 July, which is the date that the government has said hotels, restaurants and other hospitality businesses could begin to reopen as part of phase three of the lockdown exit plan.

Members of the public are allowed to swim in the sea or lakes, but the two metre distancing rule has to be observed outside of your family unit.

However, on 22 May, Swim England published a statement on their website explaining that robust guidance which will “help the aquatics sector prepare for the reopening of pools” will be released by the organisation on Monday 15 June.

The recognised national governing body has been working in collaboration with industry partners in order to produce the detailed document.

It includes guidance on all areas of aquatic activity, from pool operations to swimming lessons and community and club swimming.

There will also be specific information for all swimming, diving, artistic swimming and water polo.

Jane Nickerson, Swim England Chief Executive, said: “Government guidance clearly states that pools in England cannot reopen before 4 July and it is still unknown whether that will be the date that this happens – that is a decision for the Government.

“However, we want to be in a position where the aquatic sector has clear, effective and high quality guidance to support its preparation for reopening.”

The Swim England team are also consulting with leisure operators to ensure that the guidance is practical and applicable.

What safety measures will be put in place for swimming?

Swim England has been providing initial guidance to the government throughout the lockdown period on how to reopen more than 4,000 of the country’s swimming pools.

Richard Lamburn, Swim England Head of Facilities, previously explained, “A lot of pools have never closed before so we’ve been providing the guidance and support needed to local authorities and operators to ensure they were safely shut down and maintained.

“The science and understanding of Covid-19 in the swimming pool environment is evolving every day and we are continuing to monitor and support research in this area in cooperation with international partners.”

Mr Lamburn said Swim England would ideally like up to three weeks’ notice for the industry to get pools ready to be used again.

However, the organisation is endeavouring to support the government whatever the time frame to ensure facilities are both safe and ready for swimmers to return to the pool.

It’s likely that when pools do reopen, fewer swimmers will be allowed in at a once - and for less time.Virgin Active said that it will inform customers when it will reopen clubs "once it is safe to do so based on government advice".

Gym members could also be asked to frequently wash their hands during visits.