City working on reopening swimming pools in Stage 2
A swimming pool is seen in this undated file photo. (Shutterstock / Taweesak Jaroensin)
OTTAWA -- Ottawa enters stage two of Ontario's reopening plan on Friday, but not all of the amenities allowed to reopen will be ready.
Outdoor splash pads, wading pools, and all swimming pools are allowed to open in stage two, but the City of Ottawa says they are still investigating how to reopen their public pools.
In a statement, Dan Chenier, the City's general manager of recreation, cultural and facility services, told CTV News more information would be coming soon.
"Following the Province of Ontario's announcement regarding a regional approach to the second stage of reopening, the City of Ottawa will be reviewing the information and providing further clarity to the public on its impact on City operations in the coming days."
Are pools safe during a pandemic?
If and when public pools reopen, you may be asking whether it would be safe to go for a swim with a viral pandemic still raging.
CTVNews.ca spoke to McMaster University biology professor Matthew Miller, who says the risk of transmitting COVID-19 through water is low.
"Respiratory viruses like COVID-19 are different from viruses like polio or other pathogens like cholera that are actually spread in water," he told CTVNews.ca over the phone on Monday. "The risk of contracting the virus from the pool water itself is likely very low."
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said there is currently no evidence COVID-19 can spread in a swimming pool, and the proper sanitation of the pools should help.
"There is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread to people through the water in pools, hot tubs, or water playgrounds," the CDC wrote. "Additionally, proper operation of these aquatic venues and disinfection of the water (with chlorine or bromine) should inactivate the virus."
The virus is spread through respiratory droplets from an infected person coughing or sneezing, so it is still transmissible if physical distancing is not adhered to on pool decks or in change rooms, for example.
With files from CTV's Jennifer Ferreira.