Swimming pools, along with gyms and indoor sports centres, have remained closed during phase 1 of lifting the lockdown and people are still restricted to individual outdoor exercise such as running or cycling – although golf and outdoor tennis are also allowed.
As France prepares its plan for 'phase 2' of loosening lockdown restrictions from June 2nd, the Sports Ministry is working on a plan to reopen a small number of swimming pools as a test of new protocols.
French media reported that the ministry intends to select around 20 pools, in both mainland France and the overseas territories, in a list that will be published at the end of the week.
If the trial goes well, others would reopen later.
Among the measures being considered to keep swimmers safe and avoid spreading the virus are:
- Pre-booked timed slots for swimmers
- Limited numbers of swimmers in the pool at any one time (around a quarter of normal capacity is suggested)
- Communal changing rooms closed with cubicles only for changing, and separate cubicles for dressing and undressing
- A one-way system in the changing area
- Only fifty percent of lockers and showers in use to ensure social distancing
- No hairdryers
- Mandatory hand-washing before swimming
- Jacuzzi and paddling pools to remain closed
It is understood that around 35 swimming pools have applied to reopen, in both the red and green zones.