Swimming pools to reopen to adults - but no backstroke or butterfly permitted

Swimmers will be able to use pools from next Friday but not all are reopening, says Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council.

From August 7 the council plans on phasing the reopening of the swimming pools for adults only, with restricted opening times and safety measures.

First to reopen will be Cascades Leisure Complex, Banbridge Leisure Centre and Orchard Leisure Centre.

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However Waves in Lurgan will not reopen again.

Cascades Leisure Centre in Portadown. Photo courtesy of Google.

Individual lane swimming only will be available for those aged 16 and over and limited to 60 minutes, though that cannot be guaranteed.

However recreational swimming, including family swimming sessions, will not be available. This could change and the public is adviced to check the local press for updates or visit www.getactiveabc.com/bookfor details on how to book sessions.

Butterfly, backstroke, and armbands/floats will not be permitted.

For public lane, sessions there will be three double-width lanes only available in each pool. These will be limited to a maximum of eight swimmers per lane in the three pools. There will normally be one slow speed lane, one medium speed lane and one fast speed lane.

Slow speed, medium speed and fast speed lanes should be booked in advance.

A Council spokesperson said: “Due to Covid-19, the user experience will be slightly different, incorporating new safety measures to provide safe, but friendly, leisure environments for everyone to enjoy. Sauna, steam rooms and spa pools will not be available at this time until further notice.

All access to the pool must be booked in advance so as to avoid queuing at reception and allowing for contactless payment.

Access to the facilities has also changed. Changing rooms will be available for swimmers but not the showers.

A spokesperson said: “Until showering is available in centres, we highly recommend that all swimmers shower at home soon after their swim.

“Users are advised to bring their own drinking water, as water fountains will remain out of use.”

Strict hygiene and social distancing rules will be in place, with a one-hour time limit in the swimming pool.

The council spokesperson added: “To meet the government guidelines for gathering size limits and social distancing, entry into swimming pools will be limited and capacity will depend on the size of each location.”

The council has asked that people respect the social distancing floor markers when queuing and use the hand sanitiser provided on entry, and when leaving each facility and exercise area.

The council has asked customers not to attend if they feel unwell or display symptons of Covid-19, or if they are in a period of self-isolation.

Customers are also asked to ‘practice good respiratory hygiene’.

The spokesperson said: “The customer experience may look and feel a little different than usual, but as always, staff will be there to guide customers.

“The health and safety of all users is a priority at all facilities, and users should be assured that each facility operates to the highest standards of Public Health Agency (PHA) guidelines.”

“All existing members of facilities that remain closed are welcome to use any of the other facilities that are open during this exceptional time. As soon as reopening dates are agreed for the other facilities, these will be posted on the council’s social media platforms.

The new South Lake Leisure Centre will open to the public on 2 November 2020. To accommodate this in the Craigavon area the three existing facilities will phase out of operation:

Cascades Leisure Complex will be open to the general public for swimming only on Saturdays until 10 October 2020.

Craigavon Leisure Centre will remain open until Monday 12 October 2020 for gym only activity.

Waves Leisure will remain closed and will not reopen to the public.

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