NJ DOH Pool Guidance Update
On May 28th, 2021, the New Jersey Department of Health updated its guidelines for how municipal and private pool clubs can maintain safe COVID practices. Pool owners/management must follow the guidelines listed as follows.
All pool facilities must comply with existing sanitation and safety regulatory requirements for
recreational bathing facilities to preserve public health set forth in the New Jersey State Sanitary Code regulations. Facilities that are subject to the Public Recreational Bathing (PRB) rule, N.J.A.C. 8:26-1 et seq., must continue to abide by the requirements of those regulations, including but not limited to the creation of an Aquatics Facility Plan and the preoperational assessment checklist (N.J.A.C. 8:26-Appendix E). The LHA may utilize the Appendix E-Checklist for Public Recreational Bathing Facilities in lieu of an on-site inspection (see attached checklist).
These facilities are now permitted to operate at full capacity, per Executive Orders No. 239 and 242, without regards to social distancing. Executive Orders No. 241 and 242 also amended masking requirements. Individuals are no longer required to wear masks in these public settings, though unvaccinated individuals are strongly encouraged to do so.
Pool facilities should designate adequate staff for the roles outlined below:
- Train and equip the pool director and lifeguards on COVID-19 awareness, routine cleaning and disinfecting to perform their assigned duties in a manner that promotes the safety of public and staff.
- A role within the PRB facility which should be knowledgeable on COVID-19 response, communication, and awareness activities. The designee should serve as the point of contact for staff, patrons, and the local health authority in contact tracing efforts. The role may be performed by existing employees, unless that employee is on active lifeguard duty, and/or residents or owners of the facility, as applicable.
Facilities should also:
- Document COVID awareness training and risk reduction strategies for any personnel
- Develop a police notification policy and reporting procedures in the event of noncompliance with any activities required by Executive Order.
- Encourage unvaccinated individuals to continue social distancing. Additionally, pool facilities are encouraged to consider practices that support social distancing throughout the facility.
- Create a communication system for self-reporting of symptoms and notification of exposures and closures. Executive Order 192 Protect New Jersey’s Workforce should be followed.
- Require staff and patrons who are sick or have recently had a close contact with a person with COVID-19 to stay home.
- Consider implementing prevention and mitigation strategies to slow and limit COVID-19 exposure and spread and improve indoor ventilation.
- Consider staggering the use of shared spaces such as restrooms, showers, and locker rooms. The number of patrons inside these spaces is encouraged to be monitored to ensure separation within the enclosed space.
- Pool facilities should develop and implement an outreach plan that includes, but is not limited to, at minimum: educating staff, methods to ensure staff and patrons are aware of expectations for behavior at the pool facility and communicating to the pool facility if they become ill.
- Post signage regarding infection control best practices
- Follow the requirements of Executive Order No. 192 (2020), including the health and safety protocols outlined in Paragraph 1, to protect their employees, customers, and other visitors at the worksite.
Online training courses are available in the Vault for pool staff members, including CPR, First Aid, Bloodborne Pathogens, and various Coronavirus modules following CDC guidelines regarding awareness, proper cleaning techniques and disinfecting. Please reach out to your risk control representative for more details.