Swimming during the pandemic: What the CDC wants you to know before you hit the pool

Jayme Deerwester | USA Today

Looking forward to hitting the local public swimming pool for the first time this summer? Prepare to put a face mask in your tote bag, although you won't need to wear it in the water.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published new guidelines for operating swimming pools during the coronavirus pandemic. The documentation arrives just a few days before Memorial Day weekend, when many outdoor pools typically open for the summer season.

"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," the CDC said on its website. "Proper operation and maintenance (including disinfection with chlorine and bromine) of these facilities should inactivate the virus in the water."

Nevertheless, the agency said, "While there is ongoing community spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, it is important for individuals as well as owners and operators of these facilities to take steps to ensure health and safety."

The CDC tailored the following instructions toward pools operated by local governments, apartment complexes, homeowners associations, schools, water parks and gyms. The guidelines do not specifically apply to private pools or those operated by hotels, cruise lines and other travel-related businesses.

Among the CDC's suggestions:

Mask up – until you dive in