ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Get your bathing suits and your towels ready! Following a yearlong hiatus, hiatus, Roanoke Parks and Recreation is ready to reopen the Washington Park and Fallon Park pools this summer.
City officials say the pools did not open in summer 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. For summer 2021, though, these Roanoke pools will be operational and open to the public, albeit with some safety restrictions still in place.
“Having to keep the pools closed last year was very difficult in an already challenging year, so we are thrilled to be able to open them this summer,” Lauren Woodson, Community Recreation Coordinator, said. “Our department knows how important these facilities are to the citizens of Roanoke, and we are working hard to get them up and running.”
The department is currently hiring and training pool staff, but hopes to have the pools open by the beginning of June.
However, Roanoke Parks and Recreation says this process depends on the approval of the health department’s, which is currently experiencing a surge in permit applications amid the loosened coronavirus restrictions.
According to officials, the pools will be operating at a 75% capacity limit, which is 225 people per pool; pool entry will be on a first-come, first-serve basis; patrons will be required to answer COVID-screening questions prior to admittance; and masks will be required when entering or exiting the facility, buying concessions, and using the restrooms. All of these restrictions are subject to change.
“Safety is our number-one priority this summer, so we will be adhering to all VDH guidelines. However, those seems to be rapidly changing, so we will adjust as restrictions change,” said Woodson.
Once they heard pools would not be opening in 2020, private citizens raised funds to make sure they would open in 2021, the department says.
The money raised was given to the City of Roanoke and is reportedly being used for pool staff wages.
“The Department is grateful to its citizens for coming together during a difficult time to ensure their neighbors have access to safe and quality forms of recreation,” Roanoke Parks and Recreation said in a statement on Wednesday, May 12.
For daily hours of operation and pool rates, visit www.PlayRoanoke.com.