Can the virus that causes COVID-19 spread through pools, hot tubs, spas, and water play areas?
With school holidays approaching, more families might consider spending time at the local swimming pool or water play area. But is it safe to do so? It can be hard finding reliable information, especially with the ever-changing climate we find ourselves in, but we have done some hard work for you and have collated the latest evidence and advice.
So, is it safe to swim in a swimming pool, soak in a spa or let your kids enjoy a water play area?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states: ‘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. Additionally, proper operation of these aquatic venues and disinfection of the water (with chlorine or bromine) should inactivate the virus.’
While the short answer appears to be: ‘yes, it is safe to take your kids to the local aquatic centre’, it’s vital to keep in mind several other things in order that you and your family stay safe.
We must remember that although the water should not be a source of transmission, the surfaces and area surrounding it still might be (including people). Your local facility should be following the relevant government regulations and their COVID-Safe Plan (ask them if you have concerns), and it’s still vital to exercise good hygiene practices before, during and after your visit. Wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds and use hand sanitiser.
Note: chlorinated pool water alone should not be used as a surface disinfectant. The CDC recommends use of EPA-registered household disinfectants to disinfect surfaces. Follow the instructions on the label to ensure safe and effective use of the product.
As the weather warms up and school holidays approach, it’s the perfect time to be spending time in your backyard pool or at your local swimming facilities. Always remember to maintain social distancing and practice good hand hygiene, and enjoy the family fun!