GRAFTON— As the weather warms up, the residents of Grafton will soon be looking for a way to cool off. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there might not be a chance to splash around at Grafton City Pool this summer.
On Thursday, May 14, Grafton City Manager Kevin Stead released a statement, via Facebook, concerning the fate of the city’s pool for the season, saying that the city has several inquiries about whether or not the pool would open in the upcoming weeks.
“At this time no decision has been made,” he announced. “Many municipal pools in North Central West Virginia and throughout the state have already announced they will remain closed for summer 2020.”
Although WV Governor Jim Justice set a plan in place to reopen the state, none of the “comeback” stages thus far have address the fate of the state’s public pools.
Current guidelines that are still in place for the health and safety of the general public prevent pools from opening, and as of now, a projected opening date has not been explored by the Governor.
“Even if he (Justice) permits pools to be open there is still no guarantee the city pool will open here in Grafton,” Stead noted.
He went on to explain that many neighboring cities do not see a feasible opening with the projected restriction that will remain in place through the summer.
Currently, groups larger than 25 are discouraged, as the state continues to battle the spread of the virus, while working back to a state of normalcy.
“We would have to operate with six or seven individuals (guards and staff) at the pool during the day. That would only allow 18-19 persons to be permitted to enter the pool facility,” Stead disclosed. “That’s not just in the water, but inside the entire fenced in area.”
Additionally, he shared that if the pool were to open, the facility’s showers would have to be closed off to enforce social distancing, in turn, requiring an additional person to man the areas around the pool deck, as well as in the changing rooms.
“Individuals in the water would have to be socially distanced by six feet at all times, and concessions would have to change in order to adhere to new guidelines,” wrote Stead. “This may mean that a concession will not exist at all due to the size of the area with two to three individuals working in the small space while promoting social distancing.”
While the fate of the pool season is yet to be determined, Stead, along with other city officials want the public to know that they are only looking out for the best interest of the members of the community.
“It is a hard choice to have to make. We have to look at the situation from a lot of different angles. Will it be safe for us as a community, will it be beneficial, would it be a fiscally responsible. These are all things we have to take into consideration as we move forward. As always the health and safety of our residents is of the utmost importance,” He voiced.
Stead also released a statement regarding the city’s basketball courts at playgrounds throughout the area.
“Basketball courts will remain closed at this time also. Both my kids love basketball and I understand kids want to return playing, but in reality how do a group of kids play basketball while promoting social distancing. It can’t be done,” he expressed. “Sharing equipment (basketballs) is not permitted according to all guidelines. Kids have to share a basketball when playing. Unfortunately, this is not going away anytime soon and maybe some restrictions can or will be eased, but for the foreseeable future this is what we live with. Stay safe.”