LINGLE – The Lingle Pool opened on an uncharacteristically cloudy, slightly breezy summer afternoon, June 15. There were other elements that were uncharacteristic of a typical day at the pool, thanks to the coronavirus.
Brittany Anderson, assistant manager who has worked at the Lingle Pool for seven summers, stood outside doors leading to the pool wearing a mask and gloves, using a thermometer to check potential swimmers’ body temperatures and asking them to use hand sanitizer once they were cleared.
The procedure will be this summer’s new normal at Lingle Pool. Along with temperature checks, community members who opt to go in or around the pool for the first time this season are asked to write their name, address and contact information on an index card to aid in contact tracing in case a patron contracts the coronavirus. Per state guidelines, pool staff will be required to notify visitors who might’ve come in contact with the infected person.
Strict guidelines and slower entry time did not stop community members from filling the pool area almost to its capacity of 55 people, less than half of its normal capacity of approximately 139 to allow for social distancing guidelines.
“Things are moving a little bit slower, but people are being so patient and respectful,” Anderson said. “Everyone’s just ready to get in the pool and do whatever it takes to get in there.”
Goshen County has had four laboratory confirmed COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic and has the fourth lowest number of cases, behind Weston, Platte and Niobrara counties, which only had one case each.
Still, pool staff are taking extra precautions to ensure safety, according to Pool Manager Brandi Hill who collected index cards from incoming swimmers on June 15.
“It’s a lot of extra steps we have to take,” Hill said. “We already were sanitizing like they required anyway beforehand, so it’s taking the temperature and writing down all their information. The kids get to play and use the pool, so it’s worth it.”
A lack of storage cubbies for swimmers’ belongings, the inability to bring in outside pool toys and the requirement that those not swimming stay outside the fenced perimeter of the pool are among other changes to the pool’s operations that are written in neon blues, greens and pinks on the chalkboard door under “Pool COVID Rules.”
Once through the doors, children cannonballed and laughed with one another on opening day as if it were the start to a typical summer. That’s why it is important that the pool opens for the community, both Anderson and Hill said.
“The kids need something to do, they need normalcy,” Hill said. “If we can supply that, that’s awesome.”