HIDALGO COUNTY, Texas – As the end of school year is approaching, plans to stay cool this summer may be different because of COVID-19.
Even though pools can reopen, it could take some time before McAllen Parks and Recreation will reopen their aquatic facilities.
“We are continuing to keep them closed until it’s deemed appropriate that we open all of our public restrooms facilities. At that point in time our pool facilities will be opened as well,” said Carina Jimenez, Marketing and Special Events Administrator for the city of McAllen Parks and Recreation.
While the city of Pharr Parks and Recreation does not have a set date to reopen their aquatic center, they have been working on a safety plan that includes adding to the duties of a lifeguard.
“So, on top of their regular duties, lifeguards will be enforcing social distancing and also being trained on how to clean everything properly,” said Sarah Canizales, Program Supervisor for the city of Pharr Parks and Recreation.
“I don’t mind at all, we already do that here, we do renovations, we paint and we’re just trying to keep the pool looking nice while people aren’t here,” said Manager Ryan Flores of the Pharr Aquatics Center. “So, we already go above and beyond, there’s nothing we couldn’t do.”
Canizales said they are also looking into how they will monitor the number of people in the center.
“It’s kind of like scheduled appointments for a certain amount of people to come in to the park and enjoy their time here for maybe an hour or two and then we’ll kind of push them out,” said Canizales. “So, the lifeguards have time to clean [and] sanitize everything and then allow another wave of people to come in.”
With more tasks in the works, Canizales said hiring more people is also in the works.
We reached out to the city of Mission who will be keeping their public pools closed but will have lap swimming available by appointment.
In addition, the city of Edinburg’s Park and Recreation Director, Javier Garza said they are looking to open splash pads on July 1 and the pools in August.