With the temperature rising and the blazing sun making its grand reappearance, the desire to jump in a pool right now is hitting so many of us. As we slowly learn what will and won't be open in Quebec this summer, I think one question is on many locals' minds. Will we be able to swim in the time of COVID-19?
When the gradual resumption of sports and leisure activities was announced last week, the government issued guidelines to regulate them.
And with that in mind, here's what you need to know about swimming while the pandemic lasts.
The Government of Quebec explains that the novel coronavirus can be neutralized by the products used to maintain the water in public pools — so that's not the issue.
The potential problems with opening public pools in the province during this time are instead the proximity of users in the changing rooms, on the edge of the pool, and in the water, as well as the sharing of different surfaces. For such reasons, there has been no mention of their reopening for this summer.
The same stands for beaches in Quebec.
It is, therefore, no surprise that the two-metre social distancing rule, along with frequent handwashing, will have to be enforced in Quebec public pools this summer — if the government ends up with the okay for them to reopen.
Anyone who has ever ventured out to the Laurier Park pool during a heatwave (or any other outdoor pool in Montreal) knows how difficult it can be to keep your distance!
Pool employees would also have to ensure that the premises are cleaned regularly and thoroughly.
Pool water must also be maintained with care, always using the right amount of disinfectant, among other things.
Users will also have to do their part. They should "take a shower for at least one minute with soap before swimming."
The same applies to swimming on beaches and in lakes.
According to the Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ), the risk of transmission through beach water is considered low because the concentration of the virus is highly diluted.
Nevertheless, hand and surface cleaning and social distancing will still be required.
The INSPQ also reminds us of some common recommendations when swimming, such as never swallowing water, not swimming in the presence of flu symptoms or COVID-19, and avoiding being on the beach after heavy rain or near sources of pollution.
Note that, at this time, no government announcements have been made regarding the reopening of public pools or beaches.
But as soon as it's possible, all you have to do is put on your bathing suit and grab your towel... and some hand sanitizer.
This article was originally published in French on Narcity Québec.