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City Pool to open June 1 for exercise, not recreational swimming

City Pool will open this summer, but not for the usual brand of summertime fun.

City Pool manager Sylvia Gurtowski said Thursday that the facility will open June 1, but only for swimmers who are in training such as swim teams and lap swimmers, or for those engaging in health-related exercise. Recreational swimming will not be permitted.

Gurtowski said the ability to manage crowds and physically distance swimmers in individual lanes for lap swimming sessions allowed for a soft opening.

“It’s an ever-changing situation. We’re trying to adapt, and adapting as we go. We hope people are patient and understand the situation as we go through the summer,” Gurtowski said. “There is no way we can physically distance people in the water for recreational swimming. There are many things that would have to take place before we can have recreational swimming.”

Those wishing to come to City Pool this summer will have to abide by a number of rules and policies:

• No more than eight swimmers are allowed in the water at one time, and no more than 18 are permitted into the facility. That includes lifeguards and pool staff. No more than three people are permitted into the bathroom at any one time.

• No one under the age of 16 will be allowed into the pool unless they are training with a team.

• Anyone entering the facility will have their temperature taken upon arrival. They must also wear face masks when not in the water, and wearing shoes or flip-flops is encouraged while on the pool deck. The main pool entrance will be closed, and all swimmers must enter through the back gate located along Army Navy Drive.

• Reservations are required for all swimmers, and can be made 24 hours in advance by calling City Pool at 601-634-4516. Reservations are available for 30-, 60- or 90-minute blocks.

• Lap swim times are from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday.

• Gurtowski said the pool’s staff will sanitize surfaces and bathrooms every hour. A city maintenance crew and pool staff were busy Thursday cleaning the facility, and Gurtowski said work would continue until the pool opens on June 1.

“We’re getting the pool cleaned and sanitized now, and if we need to we will push that date back. But I feel confident we will open on time,” Gurtowski said. “We are really excited that we’re able to open for this, and sorry we can’t have recreational swim. People, I think, will understand given the circumstances.”

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured sports reporters in the paper's 137-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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