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For public pools, San Diego County waits on state to jump first

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Posted at 12:55 PM, May 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-28 15:55:15-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — As the unofficial start of summer came and went, one thing that many San Diegans were without was the use of community pools.

Reopening community and apartment pools is listed in San Diego County's pilot program to phase into California's Stage 3 of reopening early.

The county has submitted a letter petitioning the state to be allowed to enter the pilot program, but has yet to hear back.

RELATED: Is it safe to swim in pools this summer amid COVID-19? CDC offers guidance

While Memorial Day weekend say many Americans looking to cool off, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention offered new guidance on community pools. The agency says currently, "there is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread to people through the water in pools, hot tubs, spas, or water play areas. Proper operation and maintenance (including disinfection with chlorine and bromine) of these facilities should inactivate the virus in the water."

But for San Diego County, health officials are leaning on the state for the go ahead on pools. Sarah Sweeney, communications officer with the county's Health & Human Services Agency, says the risks go beyond pool chemicals.

RELATED: Gov. Newsom: Reopening guidelines for California gyms, fitness businesses coming soon

"In the case of pools, it’s not the water that’s the concern. It’s the gathering of individuals across different households for extended periods," says Sweeney.

The county's public health orders allow for water activity in the ocean, bays, and lakes. But health officials says it's unlikely that large groups will swim together in the ocean and people aren't expected to wear facial coverings while engaged in active water sports.