CLEAR LAKE — Clear Lake’s city hall and library buildings are reopening to the public this week, but City Administrator Scott Flory is expressing some doubts on if or when the city’s aquatic center will open this summer.
Flory says the first step is waiting to see if the state lifts any restrictions that are currently in place. “Obviously the governor’s proclamation prohibits splash pads, aquatic centers, those kinds of things from being open through the 27th. So we’re in a difficult scenario there. Staffing becomes a critical thing for us there. We don’t know what’s going to happen come the 28th, whether or not that proclamation would be extended or not.”
One of the key things would be staffing the pool with lifeguards, with many of those positions being filled by high school and college students. Flory says they may run into a staffing shortage. “The governor has also indicated that schools are going to be able to open sooner. It used to be they were restricted on when the start date could be for school, so that has changed. So it’s possible — I do not know this and have had no discussions, but just hypothesizing — it’s possible that schools could start early, which obviously our lifeguard staff is comprised of school people, so they would probably be only having a job maybe through July at the most. We probably would not likely have much more than maybe a six-week swim season.”
Flory says it would be tough to ask lifeguards to turn down other summer jobs if the city doesn’t know if or when the aquatic center would open. “Keeping the lifeguards that are interested in working for us in the active file, obviously they want to be lifeguards and have a job for the summer, and if we’re not going to be able to open the pool, then we don’t have anything for them to do. So we’re in a bit of a difficult spot.”
Flory says the amount of things that would be sanitized on a frequent basis and social distancing restrictions could also be an issue with pool operations. “Our pool has a capacity of 300 people, so if we were looking at about a 50-percent capacity restriction, we’d be down to about 150 people. Then if you have to for good reason practice social distancing at six feet, with our limited space, that 150 is probably further reduced down to about 75. I think I saw one of the restaurants that said the 50-percent, once you factor in the social distancing, it’s down to 37 percent compared to the normal operating capacity.”
Flory, who made his comments at last night’s meeting of the City Council, said even if the restrictions on swimming pools were lifted next week, the earliest preparations could be finished to open the aquatic center would be mid-June.
== Clear Lake City Hall will reopen to the public today with normal business hours. Only two customers at a time will be allowed to enter City Hall. Visitors should enter the building using the single front door and exit out the double doors. Additionally visitors are encouraged to wear face masks and staff will routinely clean countertops. The Clear Lake Library fully reopened yesterday to the public with reduced hours of Monday to Friday 10:00 AM-5:00 PM. People are asked to wear masks and are limited to one hour a day at the library. Children must be accompanied by a parent.