A public pool in Oregon last week made the decision to open even as the community was under renewed COVID-19 “Extreme Risk” occupancy limits.
The Juniper Swim & Fitness Center opened the facility’s roof and welcomed Bend community back to the pool even as Deschutes County moved back into the extreme risk category. The center says it is making adjustments to accommodate swimmers and adhere to local guidelines.
Warm weather moved was part of the decision.
"Once we heard that we were going to move to the 'red level' within Deschutes County, we pretty much put all hands on deck. We said, 'Let's get the sides and the ends down and let's let people swim," facility supervisor Clare Gordon told News Channel 21 in Bend.
The sides of the pool came off Friday, and the roof will be removed Sunday through Tuesday and the pool will be open during that time.
"I think the impact we saw on the community when we closed and the importance that this facility has to our community, really motivates us to stay open and provide programming to this community," Gordon said. "You know, water is very healing, when people can swim or get in water and exercise. It's really important to people's health, and for families to be able to recreate in an outdoor space and get kids in the water -- kids having access to water is really important to us."
With the change, the Juniper is able to welcome a limited number of people to swim in 55- minute sessions with a reservation.
Operating under Extreme Risk, Bend Park & Rec has also made the following changes:
- Kids Inc, Art Station and most youth enrichment programs will continue without changes.
- Outdoor sports will continue with a maximum capacity of 100 people per field including parents and spectators.
- The Pavilion will remain open for roller sports and open skates with a maximum capacity of 100 people.
- Larkspur Community Center will remain open but be limited to 6 patrons at a time in each portion of the building. Sessions will also be limited to 45 minutes as required by guidance.
- Classes and activities are being modified according to updated public health officials’ guidance.
- Some fitness classes to be relocated to outdoor options at Larkspur Community Center and The Pavilion.
- Virtual fitness classes will continue to be broadcast.
- Some programs and activities will be canceled, including swim lessons, for one week and will be re-evaluated weekly.