Closing the Goeres Park Swimming Pool for the 2020 season was not an easy decision. Having lived in Lodi my entire life, I have wonderful memories of time at that pool on long summer days and swimming lessons on very cold June mornings.
In making this decision we had two things in mind – safety and budget. After reviewing the guidance from the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) and from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it became obvious that we cannot guarantee the safety of swimmers and their families, and we cannot afford the extra expenses involved.
Here are a few of the reasons why:
- The recommendations indicate the shower rooms and toilet rooms should be “frequently cleaned and sanitized.” This would require hiring additional staff, which we do not have the funds to do. The pool operations cost the city over $65,000 each summer. We do not charge admission, nor do we limit the access to city residents.
- We would also need to hire one additional person to manage access (we could only have a maximum of 10 in the pool at one time), and ensure that social distancing is being maintained.
- We had to let our Aquatic Managers go because they needed to find other summer employment. And the lifeguards we would normally have on duty cannot fulfill this role because, “A lifeguard, while serving as a lifeguard, may not perform duties of the attendant, such a monitoring social distancing.”
- It is nearly impossible to get children to maintain social distancing when they’re swimming.
We have been fortunate in that there have not been any outbreaks (at least no diagnosed cases) of COVID-19 in the area. However, the numbers in Columbia County have been ticking up over the past week or so, and the impact of opening everything up remains to be seen. While Lodi has a very active population, it also has a significant number of citizens who are particularly vulnerable to this disease.
The parks, tennis, basketball, and pickleball courts remain open for individuals and families to enjoy. We are extremely blessed to live in an area that has abundant hiking and biking trails to explore. Our hope is that this will be the only summer we have our pool and park facilities closed, but the safety of our residents will continue to be the top priority as we evaluate other events and activities in the coming months.
If you have questions, please feel free to contact Mayor Ann Groves Lloyd.