LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Just a few weeks after Kentucky’s top public official splashed cold water on opening public pools at the start of summer, a petition with more than 15,000 signatures circulated Louisville asking Governor Andy Beshear to reopen the pools for Memorial Day.
“It’s not trying to steal anybody's summer the coronavirus is doing that for us. It’s trying to keep you safe and protected, trying to keep your kids from spreading this to other people,” the governor said in his daily press conference on Wednesday
Dr. Steven Stack, Kentucky's public health commissioner, said in April that public pools should stay closed through June because of the coronavirus outbreak. He mentioned the inability to maintain social distancing guidelines needed to help contain the virus as a reason for keeping public pools closed.
“It's not been great to say the least,” said Scott Miller, President of Kentuckiana Pool Management. “Off the top of my head, we will take probably a 60-80% hit over this.”
The company manages over 100 pools, and Miller said this is supposed to be his busy season.
“My wife the other day said, 'I can't believe you're home two Saturdays before Memorial Day,' so it's quite a different animal out there.”
KPM staff is staying on top up of normal upkeep, but Miller said he feels for the lifeguards.
“We provide employment for over 350 lifeguards every summer, too, so we've got a lot of kids who depend on that money to help pay for school, and who knows what's going to happen there,” Miller explained.
Miller hopes Governor Beshear will at least approve training for lifeguards, which he said can be controlled, so that if pools do open this summer, there will be people trained and ready.
“The coronavirus cannot live in a chlorinated pool. It's been known that sunlight kills it quickly, and being an outdoor environment, that's better,” he said.
Miller is asking for a chance to adjust, like other businesses allowed to reopen were given.
“You're going to have to really limit the number of people that can come in at a time,” he explained. “Say two hours, close the pool for 30 minutes and do disinfection. If done the right way, then we can have these people safe.”
He said he plans to send a letter to the governor outlining a plan by next week.
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