Break out your swimming trunks and bathing suits: the Newbridge Road pool in Bellmore is now open for the season.
Swimmers first made a splash at the facility last Saturday, a week earlier than other Town of Hempstead pools’ Fourth of July weekend openings. Pool Supervisor Brian Dazzo said more than 150 guests visited Newbridge over the first two days, despite some rain, and an increase in attendance is expected for the holiday weekend.
Echo Park pool, in West Hempstead, and Veterans Memorial Park pool, in East Meadow, also opened last Saturday. All other town pools will open on Friday.
On Monday afternoon, dozens of residents cooled off at the Newbridge Road pool, clearly excited to be back in the water. Guests can expect several sanitary and social-distancing protocols, according to Town Supervisor Donald Clavin, with capacity limited to 50 percent for the daily 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. hours of operation. Masks are required to be worn when walking to and from the pool, to the restroom or when talking to on-duty lifeguards. Masks are not required in the water.
Restrooms are open, changing rooms are closed and visitors must bring their own chairs, because those at the facility are not available for use. Concession stands are also closed, but may reopen at a later date.
Although lifeguards will ensure the pandemic safety guidelines are followed, they must primarily watch over swimmers. Additional staffing has been added to “monitor the area” and advise residents, Clavin said. “We’re not going to have the ‘pool police,’” he said. “They’ll be working with residents just to make sure the safeguards are in place.”
Hempstead Town Aquatic Coordinator Justine Anderson will oversee the staff, a majority of whom are returning employees from previous years. “I think they’re excited to get a sense of normalcy back,” she said. “They’ve been stuck at home all these months.”
As a member of the town’s Water Safety Advisory Committee and the Covid-19 Task Force, Anderson has been working to facilitate a smooth opening at the pool. Hand-sanitizing stations are available, and spaces for families to sit — marked by large squares on the pool deck — are separated by 10 feet, she said.
By next year, many of the town’s parks will have “touchless bathrooms,” Clavin added, featuring automated doors, toilets and sinks, which are already present at some town beach facilities.
“The residents of Nassau County are well aware that we were a hot spot, and we need to be cautious,” Clavin said. “Though it can be frustrating, residents have been great. By doing this together, it’s going to help avoid a second round of this pandemic.”