Resorts, water parks reopening – But will people go?

Many water parks, resorts, and outdoor amusement parks will be allowed to reopen ahead of the Independence Day weekend, but will Americans feel safe enough to take the plunge at one of these venues this summer?

To find out, the Water Quality & Health Council recently conducted its annual swimming survey of American adults, asking, “Which types of pools did you swim in last summer?” and “If open, which types of pools do you expect to swim in this summer?”

Key Findings

  • Of those respondents who said they swam in a hotel/motel pool last summer, 68% expect to swim in a hotel/motel pool, if open, again this summer. Among all respondents, 41% said they expect to swim in a hotel/motel pool this summer.
  • More than 1 in 4 respondents (27%) said they expect to swim in a water park pool, if open, this summer – a slightly greater percentage than said they did so last summer (24%).

Dr. Chris Wiant, chair of the Water Quality & Health Council says: “As a growing number of states reopen recreational water facilities, our survey found that most Americans who swam in a resort pool or water park while on vacation last summer still expect to do so this summer, even in the midst of the pandemic. Whether they’re actually making vacation plans or holding onto hope for safer circumstances later this summer, it’s apparent that Americans are eager to get outside and enjoy summer. We can protect ourselves and others while at the pool through social distancing, wearing a mask when you aren’t swimming, and washing hands often with soap and water. Also, you should practice good swimmer hygiene – shower before swimming, and never pee in the pool. That will help ensure there is enough chlorine available to kill germs in the water.”

According to the CDC, there is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread to people through properly treated pool water – and proper pool operation and disinfection of the water (e.g., with chlorine or bromine) should kill the virus. However, CDC recommends that individuals should continue to protect themselves and others when swimming with people other than those they live with, for example, by practicing social distancing and not gathering in groups – both in and out of the water.

The 2020 Healthy Pools survey was conducted by the Water Quality & Health Council, an independent, multidisciplinary group of scientific experts, health professionals, and consumer advocates that is sponsored by the American Chemistry Council’s Chlorine Chemistry Division. The survey interviewed 2,143 American adults online April 9-14, 2020 – at the height of the COVID-19 outbreak – with the intent to measure perceptions and behaviors related to swimming pools and public health. The survey had a margin of error of +/- 2.12% at the 95% confidence level and results were nationally representative of American adults in terms of age, race, gender, region, household income, and pool ownership status.

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