Despite New Regulations, Mass. Swimmers Happy to Be Back in Pools

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It was a welcome sight in Franklin, Massachusetts, on a hot and sunny Thursday. The outdoor pool at the Adirondack Club is now open at 1/3 capacity due to the pandemic.

"This has been part of our summer since my kids were in swim diapers," said member Julie Low.

Kevin Kelleher, also a member, was pleased to be there.

"Especially for my kids, having some sense of something that looks normal for the summer rather than just being cooped up at home," he explained.

Outdoor pools were able to open as part of Phase 2 of Massachusetts' reopening plan.

Adirondack Club owner Bob Hinrichs says it's been a lot of work, but it's been worth it.

"You see the look on the faces of the members, the moms that come down, bring their kids here," he said.

Hinrichs says the club has to adhere to strict guidelines with occupancy, staffing, signage and testing. It is allowing 120 people in for 90-minute segments four times a day.

Seating is all measured out in 10-by-10 pods. Members have to sign up for slots online and sign in at the gate.

"We know exactly who is here for contact tracing, so God forbid there's an outbreak or something happens, we know exactly who was here every time, every moment of the day," said Hinrichs.

Members also have to wear masks when not in the water or at their pods.

The water slide will be reopening soon, and the handrails and grab bars will be sanitized every half hour.

Hinrichs says it took a tremendous amount of work to fit everyone in with all the precautions in a way that's still fun.

"We didn't want people to think that they were in such a confined area they couldn't socialize with their friends," he said.

And members say some of the precautions may even be better for summers down the road, like having a lounge chair available as soon as they walk in.

"It's actually kind of nice, versus previous summers not even knowing if you were going to get a chair," said Marissa Kelleher.

Hinrichs says he looks forward to getting rest of the club open. A good majority of the 6,000 members come for the gym and classes.

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