The City of Palm Coast has made the difficult decision not to open the Palm Coast Aquatics Center for its 2020 season.
There were a number of factors that played a part in this decision. If opened, there would have been significant restrictions in hours including closures throughout the day to sanitize common areas, such as the restrooms, pool deck and furniture.
Typically, the Palm Coast Aquatics Center is staffed with lifeguards who provide a lifesaving role and whose only focus is on the safety of guests in and out of the pool, primarily those in the water. In order to maintain the safety standards of the pool on a normal basis, lifeguards must be able to focus solely on the water not the additional protocol of regulating attendance, taking mandatory temperature readings of everyone entering the facility and monitoring social distancing throughout the facility. Simply put, distractions can cost lives.
Therefore, this would have required an additional set of staff to fulfill these critical duties according to aquatic industry standards. The cost of additional staff, in addition to the increased costs of PPE, sanitizing chemicals and equipment and other protocols would have meant significantly higher pool operations cost. All of this during a time the City is taking fiscally conservative measures to counteract the substantially reduced revenue.
"These factors pointed to the uniqueness of an aquatics environment being such that closure for the 2020 season was a necessary and unavoidable action," said City Manager Matthew Morton. "We are all saddened to have to make this decision, but together we can all do our part. We have to work together as a community to keep our residents safe and help prevent the spread of COVID-19."
Palm Coast Parks & Recreation plans to continue virtual recreation opportunities, including basic swim safety and aquatics activities.
Please visit the Parks & Rec page on Palm Coast Connect at www.palmcoastconnect.com/s/parks-and-recreation or the Parks & Rec Facebook page at www.facebook.com/palmcoastrec for the latest virtual programming.
The City of Palm Coast encourages its residents to continuing following the latest guidelines from Gov. DeSantis and the CDC. For all the latest updates regarding COVID-19 and more, please visit www.palmcoastconnect.com.