Putnam County’s public pools will reopen this May starting with scheduled groups only.
A maximum of 50 swimmers will be allowed at one time with two available times daily at both Cookeville and Monterey pools. Parks and Recreation Director John Ross Albertson said his department reviewed other opening plans, local needs and staffing to create the guidelines.
“It is kind of similar in a way that a lot of other pools across the country have tried to operate,” Albertson said. “And that’s trying to have a scheduled use, so that way you can limit how many people are in your pool and in your pool area. And, it also helps keep the lifeguards safe and helps keep them at a point where they can monitor those COVID precautions.”
Albertson said his department wanted to find a happy median between being opened or closed. Albertson said he hopes this is the first step to fully opening the pools this summer but that all depends on how COVID plays out.
“Trying to get the pools reopened, it was a difficult decision to try and take this approach,” Albertson said. “But, we thought it was the necessary move concerning COVID-19 and any other potential variants.”
Albertson said lifeguards are currently being hired to make up for lost staff during the closure. Pool party reservations can be made by calling the parks and recreation office.
“There are all kinds of issues that a lot of people don’t think about,” Albertson said. “When we were closed last year, all the lifeguards were not working and did not have a job. So essentially, we had to start over this year recruiting new lifeguards and what returning lifeguards we can get to come back.”
Parties must be reserved at least one week in advance. A lower rate for a 25 person party is also available. Albertson said the department looks to add additional activities to make up for the limitations such as showing movies.