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Martins Ferry swimming pool opening today with new rules

MARTINS FERRY — The city of Martins Ferry’s swimming pool is set to reopen for the season today, but with some changes in place aimed at keeping swimmers safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Bobbi Howard, pool manager at the Martins Ferry Rec Center on Fourth Street, said the pool will be open from noon to 6 p.m. daily starting today.

“In accordance with guidelines set by the state of Ohio, there will be additional rules that must be followed. Failure to follow these guidelines will result in expulsion from the pool,” Howard said via press release.

When people arrive, they must enter through the Rec Center doors, as the exterior gates will stay locked. Patrons must sign in and sign a release, waiving the pool of any liability regarding use of the facility. Parents can sign for their children.

Those who do not belong to the same family household are being asked to practice social distancing while at the pool to help prevent spreading the coronavirus. Everyone on the pool deck is being asked to wear a mask, though it is not required.

“The locker rooms will not be available to change in. Please come dressed to swim and leave the same way. Restrooms and showers will be available,” she said.

The pool is being required by the Ohio Department of Health to operate at half of its normal capacity. This means up to about 100 people can be at the pool at one time.

“We will be counting patrons entering to monitor attendance. … To help insure these numbers we will be using the inside entrance to the pool this summer. The outside gates to the pool will be locked. We ask that when you enter the pool for the day that you do not leave until you plan to leave. We are a smoke free facility, so please refrain from doing so until you leave for the day,” she said.

The picnic pavilion will be closed. Howard noted the pool will not be hosting movie nights, free swims or moonlight swims because of capacity restrictions.

“We will be sanitizing the area every two hours; please be courteous and allow our employees to do their job. The concession area will be marked for social distancing. If we can all work together we can keep the pool open all summer. New rules will be posted on the door and on the pool deck,” Howard added.

She noted that pool rentals will not be done this summer. Monthly and seasonal passes will not be sold. Daily admission rates are $3 for adults; $1 for students; free for children 4 and younger; and $2 for senior citizens.

Howard on Friday said while some other local pools decided not to open under the state guidelines, opening Martins Ferry’s pool was not a hard decision for her.

“It needed to. I thought it would be a crime if it didn’t open,” she said. “We had to drain it anyway to clean it and check on the wear and tear on the liner. Then we would have filled it to protect the liner.”

Howard said in terms of keeping track of people going in and out, the pool does that daily for its accounting anyway.

“We had to give it a try. If (the virus) gets worse and we have to close it, we’ll close it,” Howard said.

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