A child jumps off the high dive at Vale City Pool on June 17, shortly after it opened for the summer. Social distancing protocols are in place. (The Enterprise/Rachel Parsons)
VALE—The Vale City Pool is open again.
The pool was closed after Malheur County slipped down to Phase 1 reopening status on Aug. 15. State rules at the time said pools cannot be open in counties in Phase 1, but the Oregon Health Authority changed course on Sept. 7.
“Similar to pools, we know that swimming is safe. It's what happens around the pool, the locker room, gathering at the end of the lanes for sports teams, and we've updated our guidance to provide safety there for the people participating,” said Dean Sidelinger, state epidemiologist, at a press briefing.
The new pool rules from the Oregon Health Authority say that Phase 1 counties can open pools, that lap swimmers must enter and exit the pool on opposite ends, and pools must have a waiting area for swimmers.
The state rules require staff to wear masks or face coverings when not in the water.
The week the pool was closed, Malheur County saw 133 new Covid cases. The county saw 119 new Covid cases the first week of September.
Pool hours include lap swims from 4-5 p.m., and open swims 5-7 p.m. Monday through Thursday. The pool also has lap swim from 6-7 a.m., aerobics from 7-8 a.m., swim lessons from 9 a.m. - 12 p.m., open swim from 1-4:45 p.m., lap swim and aerobics from 5-6 p.m., and open swim 6-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
The pool will remain open until around the beginning of October, said Katie Lamb, interim city manager.
While the pool was closed, lifeguards didn’t work and weren’t paid, said Samantha Reynolds, assistant pool manager.
“We’re happy to be back and have something for the kids to do while they’re in distance learning,” said Reynolds.
The pool had a late opening this summer – June 15 – since the county started the summer in Phase 1, and a geothermal pipe needed repair.
News tip? Contact reporter Aidan McGloin at [email protected] or at 541-473-3377.
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