Effective 12:00 a.m., Friday, May 29, 2020, fitness centers, gymnasiums, recreation centers, sports facilities, and exercise facilities—including outdoor pools—may reopen for outdoor activities only. Indoor activities are prohibited. Pools must obtain a license from Arlington County before opening.
Outdoor activities may be conducted if they comply with the Virginia Department of Health’s Guidelines for All Business Sectors and the Guidelines for Fitness and Exercise Facilities summarized below. Businesses must strictly adhere to physical distancing guidelines, enhanced cleaning and disinfection practices, and enhanced workplace safety practices.
- Patrons, members, and guests must remain at least ten feet apart during all activities.
- Hot tubs, spas, splash pads, spray pools, and interactive play features must be closed.
- Outdoor swimming pools may be open for lap swimming only and must be limited to one person per lane.
- All seating in pool areas must be closed.
- Employees working in customer-facing areas are required to wear face coverings over their nose and mouth at all times. Refer to CDC’s Use of Cloth Face Coverings. Lifeguards responding to distressed swimmers are exempt from this requirement.
- Employers must ensure cleaning and disinfection of shared equipment after each use (e.g., kick boards, rescue equipment).
- Facilities shall prohibit the use of any equipment that cannot be thoroughly disinfected between uses.
- Businesses must supply hand sanitizer stations or hand washing stations for patrons, members, and guests.
- All group outdoor activities may not have more than 10 guests, patrons, or members.
- If any business cannot adhere to these requirements, it must close.
In addition to the requirements above, establishments are encouraged to use the following best practices to the extent they are feasible:
- Encourage patrons to wear face coverings. Face coverings may be removed while exercising as long as physical distancing is observed.
- When protective equipment such as face coverings are used, launder daily and wash hands after touching/adjusting face covering while working.
- Use disposable towels and linens where possible. All reusable towels, linens, and other porous fabric should be laundered after single use. Store towels and linens in a closed, covered container prior to use.
- Encourage patrons to bring their own equipment for lap swimming (e.g., kick boards, weight belts).
- Post signs to inform patrons that sitting (in the pool or on the pool deck) and recreational swimming are prohibited.
- Post signs to inform patrons that only lap swimming is allowed and lanes are restricted to one patron per lane.
For additional guidance from the Virginia Department of Health on Phase 1 Reopening of Swimming Pools, Spas, Hot Tubs, and Other Aquatic Facilities, visit: www.vdh.virginia.gov/environmental-health/phase-1-considerations-for-aquatic-facilities.
Pools that Remain Closed
In most cases, it is safer and more cost effective to keep the pool running and balanced to prevent damage to the pool/equipment, mosquito breeding, biofilm, mold, algae, and other outbreaks.
- Due to a high-water table, do not drain pools to prevent them from popping out of the ground.
- Get the water circulating. If pumps are equipped with Variable Speed Drives, the speed can be turned down significantly, but it is important to keep circulating and filtering the water.
- Keep water balanced and chlorinated! Chlorine setpoints can be reduced to a minimal level (1-3 PPM). This is key to prevent mosquito breeding, biofilm, mold, and algae from forming.
- Turn off or lower the setpoint for heaters.
- Keep up on basic maintenance and repairs to prevent more expensive damage or issues.
Spas, Wading Pools, & Interactive Water Features that Remain Closed
- Small, shallow bodies of water can typically be safely drained. All plumbing lines, pumps, and especially filters should be drained of water to prevent biofilm and mold growth.
New Construction/Remodeling – Plan Review
The construction and operation of public swimming pools, spas and interactive water features in Arlington County must comply with Chapter 24.1, Water Recreation Facilities Ordinance of the Arlington County Code.
Plans for new or remodeled establishments must be submitted for review prior to construction.
- The owner, or his agent, must submit seven sets of plans to Building Inspection Services, 2100 Clarendon Blvd., Suite 1000.
- Building Inspection Services will forward a copy of the plans to the Environmental Health Program.
- There is a $160 plan review fee.
- Contact Building Inspection Services at 703-228-3800 with questions.
Public Pool Connections
- New public or commercial pools are required to be connected to the sanitary sewer system. Contact Arlington County’s Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development, Inspection Services Division, at 703-228-3800 for information about swimming pool connections and requirements.
Applying for a License
A Health License is required for new water recreation facilities or whenever there is a change of ownership. The license must be renewed annually. Each Water Recreation Facility License Application must be accompanied by:
- An Electrical Inspection Form completed by a Master Electrician
- An application-processing fee of $400 for year-round pools, $200 for seasonal pools, and $100 for each additional body of water. Make checks payable to the Arlington County Treasurer and mail them to Environmental Health Program, 2110 Washington Blvd, Suite 350, Arlington, Virginia 22204.
- For renewals, submit the Pre-Opening Checklist and certify that all items will be in place and working properly prior to opening. The Environmental Health Program will not conduct renewal pre-opening inspections this year. For more information, read the 2020 Seasonal Pool License Renewal Letter.
All swimming pools must have a certified lifeguard and person in charge on site during all hours of pool operation. The person in charge must be able to demonstrate his/her skills in the areas of water chemistry, hydraulics, microbiology, and other relevant areas related to the safe operation of public swimming pools and public spas.
Follow CDC Guidelines to ensure that you have a healthy swimming experience each and every time.