NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – New Yorkers can cool off starting Friday at some public pools across the city.
With the coronavirus pandemic, there are a bunch of new rules.
Lifeguards are on deck and crews are putting the finishing touches on Wagner Pool in East Harlem. It's one of public swimming pools will open Friday. Seven more will welcome visitors again August 1.
The following open Friday:
- Mullaly in Highbridge, the Bronx
- Sunset in Sunset Park, Brooklyn
- Kosciuszko in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn
- Wagner in East Harlem, Manhattan
- Liberty in Jamaica, Queens
- Fisher in East Elmhurst, Queens
- Tottenville in Tottenville, Staten Island
- Lyons in Tompkinsville, Staten Island
"These kids around here, I mean, they're dying for the pool to open," one man said.
To allow for safe social distancing, maximum pool capacities are now reduced 30%. One hundred and twenty five are allowed in at Wagner Pool, down from 180 people last season.
Signage from the ground to the walls reminds everyone to stay six feet apart, and masks are required of everyone not in the water.
"The CDC experts are telling us chlorine is a great disinfectant, so there'll be no transmission inside the pool," said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver.
"We're going to be careful with them. There will be rules, there will be social distancing, there will be smart efforts to keep people safe," Mayor Bill de Blasio said during Thursday's press briefing. "It's also going to provide a lot of wonderful relief for residents of those neighborhoods and folks from all around."
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"On the pool deck, we're letting the public know, and those parents and guardians, that we will be exercising social distancing rules, we'll be asking people to wear their face covering. We'll have social distancing ambassadors throughout the pool deck," said Silver. "All staff will be playing that role to make sure people follow the rules.
"We have hand sanitizers on the deck, we have our restrooms - we went from paper to now a hand dryer. So we've taken all the precautions to make sure people are safe and have a pleasant experience when they're in the pool," he continued.
The city retrained all of its lifeguards on how to perform CPR without mouth-to-mouth.
Silver says families of more than 10 people will not be allowed to congregate together.
"Part of the lifeguard's duties is to make sure people spread out. We also have other social distancing ambassadors that are on deck," Silver said.
Throughout the day, staff members will clean high touch areas like deck chairs, tables and water fountains. A deep clean will take place mid-afternoon and at closing.
"So when you hear the city say it's gonna be safe, that's not enough for you?" asked CBS2's Hazel Sanchez.
"No it's not. No it's not. Then why can't you open up the bars, the restaurants and all that stuff?" said pastor Antoinette Glover. She, and other parents Sanchez spoke with, will not be bringing their children to the pools.
"We always go to the pool, but coronavirus is messing it up," said Jordan Glover of East Harlem.
"I'm personally not going to allow my kids in the pool until at least another two more years. Because I'm scared of the corona," said East Harlem resident Marshel Orgenton.
"I don't mind not going to the pool. Corona is a big thing," said Max Bryant.
But other families believe that if everyone follows the rules, it's safe.
"Well maybe if everybody's wearing their masks and then they have chlorine that's in the water. So that should help. I think it's OK," one person said.
De Blasio previously said the city's pools wouldn't be able to open this summer due to health concerns and budget cuts. He's since allowed both pools and beaches to gradually reopen with new restrictions.
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