Summer promises to be hot, but uncertainty remains for swimming enthusiasts. Closed since mid-March, public pools are not expected to reopen until June 2, and the second round of deconfinement announced by the government. But there is no guarantee that they will reopen on this date.
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And for good reason. Take the " standard " problems that arise when reopening closed sports spaces - respect for barrier gestures and social distancing, wearing a mask, circulation within the premises, disinfection to limit the survival of viruses on surfaces ... - dip them in water, and the puzzle of reopening swimming pools stands out without diving goggles.
" We are talking to the health authorities to consider the terms and conditions for their reopening, but it is too early at this stage to be sure of anything, " said the Paris city hall, which manages forty pools. Same thing in Lyon, where city hall teams are multiplying the possible scenarios for the reopening of this equipment, with the priority of reducing the physical distance between bathers outside the pools.
" We are going to have very hot weather and few departures on vacation, so we need as many opportunities to cool off ", explains to the Figaro Yann Cucherat, sports assistant for the city. " We plan to create time slots and tickets with a duration limited to two hours to allow better rotation, with differentiated color bracelets, making appointments upstream to avoid the flow of important people ... And to facilitate the disinfection of the cabins after each visit, the town hall is studying the possibility of adjusting the circulation in the swimming pools so that bathers never go back, even if it means taking their business with them.
The deputy does not hide that these measures would necessarily imply that " fewer people can bathe ". He nevertheless hopes that their implementation will allow the first swimming pools in Lyon to be reopened before the least of July. " National directives will prevail, but we are targeting June 25, " says Yann Cucherat.
There remains the whale in the footbath: the question of the spread of the coronavirus in water. " The ARS tells us that the virus does not spread in chlorinated water ", hesitates the elected official, who sought Thursday to have the information confirmed with the Ministry of Sports. Because as underlined a notice published on March 9 by the French company of hospital hygiene at the request of the General Directorate of Health " no study concerning the survival of SARS-CoV-2 in swimming pool water is available at the current time ”.
" Swimming pool water does not seem a suitable place for the survival and development of viruses , note the researchers in this note. Viruses with an envelope - influenza viruses or viruses of the coronavirus family - are too fragile and survive too short in the outside environment to be transmitted in swimming pools. "
Although viruses cannot a priori replicate outside its environment, their presence in a swimming pool can be the result of direct contamination by bathers, who can excrete viruses " by unintentional fecal discharges or by the release bodily fluids such as saliva, mucus or vomit ”. Releases conducive to contamination by ingestion (by drinking the cup) or by penetration of the ocular mucous membranes and possible skin lesions.
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Pending further analysis, the French hospital hygiene company did not oppose the reopening of collective swimming pools, provided that access restrictions were put in place for people with respiratory or digestive signs. " The essential point is that, whatever the type of public swimming pool, compliance with appropriate disinfection standards and appropriate individual behavior must make it possible to avoid the risk of water transmission of the COVID-19 virus ", concluded the document.