NYC Public Pools Open For Summer, Adding Mask Mandates To Long List Of Existing Rules

New York City’s outdoor public pool season starts Saturday in a return to its normal schedule after last summer’s delayed openings due to the pandemic.

Masks are now required for all people entering the facilities at the city’s 53 outdoor pools and while in locker rooms, bathrooms, and on the pool deck, according to the city Parks Department. Masks should not be worn while swimmers are in the actual pool.

Another change brought by the pandemic is that outdoor swim programs have been cancelled this season, the Parks Department said, “as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has affected our ability to hire and train lifeguards.”

The city’s public pools have long had strict regulations that remain in place this year — locks are still required to enter the facilities, swimsuits are required to enter the pool area, and only plain white shirts and hats are allowed on the deck because the dyes in colored shirts can run in pool water. The Parks Department says food, glass bottles, and electronic devices are prohibited as are newspapers because “unbound periodicals tend to blow around and create litter,” and other valuables should be left at home.

The hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily with a cleaning break between 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. The season lasts until September 12th.

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In another sign of a return to normalcy, city beaches opened this year on the traditional Memorial Day weekend. Beach lifeguards are on duty daily, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., until the season ends September 12th.

New York State’s beaches and pools, including the pool at Roberto Clemente State Park in the Bronx and Denny Farrell Riverbank State Park in Harlem also opened Memorial Day weekend, with six-foot distancing. The state hopes to lift the distancing restriction completely by July 4th.