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Outdoor pools and terraces: guidelines on the deconfinement

Piscines extérieures et terrasses : mode d’emploi du déconfinement

The RGCQ publishes this information in foresight of the reopening of public pools as was decided by the government on May 30, 2020. The information presented in this document is subject to change depending on the evolution of the situation. The information and recommendations provided by the RGCQ are of a general nature. Their application must be adapted to the situation in your co-ownership. We invite you to regularly consult the instructions issued by the various levels of government and to consult the appropriate professionals when necessary.

Montreal, June 1, 2020 - The government is now allowing public outdoor swimming pools to open to the public. We consider that this authorization also signifies that common terraces in co-ownership can, under certain conditions, be reopened. The recommendations we make apply to terraces, the enclosed perimeter surrounding swimming pools and swimming pools themselves.

We wish to remind you that although it is now permitted to open swimming pools and terraces, this is not compulsory. Before making this decision, administrators must ensure that opening the swimming pool and/or terrace can be done safely by respecting the health regulations in force and ensuring the health and safety of their users.

If you are unable to put in place sufficient safety procedures (for example, if there is a lack of equipment or personnel to carry out sanitary maintenance), we recommend that you maintain the closure of these facilities. If your syndicate of co-owners does not have the resources to ensure the safety of the co-owners or its employees in these common areas, it can decide to keep them closed.

As with the other containment and deconfinement steps, communication must be at the heart of the administration’s actions. You have to understand the needs of the co-owners and explain the constraints linked to the reopening of these common areas. The opening of swimming pools and terraces cannot be done as usual. In some cases, it will even be impossible to proceed with this opening if the health and safety of users cannot be guaranteed. Each syndicate will have to make its decision according to its particular circumstances.

We also remind you that all people infected with COVID-19, presenting symptoms, returning from abroad or identified as being in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 must isolate themselves in their homes in accordance with government directives. These people must not use the terrace or the swimming pool in their co-ownership.

Here are the main elements to take into account before organizing the opening of your pool or terrace:

  1. Guarantee the cleanliness and sanitation of equipment

  • The quality of the water in the swimming pool must comply with the requirements of the Regulation respecting the water quality in swimming pools and other artificial bodies. If your pool has suffered from a maintenance deficit during the containment period, it may take time before the pool is ready to be opened.

  • Contact surfaces must be regularly disinfected. Door handles, chairs, tables, ladders and pool ramps should be given special attention. To achieve this, you could place bottles of disinfectant near all of these surfaces and ask the users to disinfect them before and after each use. You could also assign these tasks to cleaning companies or syndicate employees. For surfaces in contact with swimming pool water, choose a product compatible with the chemicals present in the water.

  • To limit the areas to be disinfected and potential contamination sites, it is recommended to postpone the opening of changing rooms, toilets, showers and water fountains present in the pool’s vicinity and/or on the terrace. Users can come directly from their units, with their personal bottle of water. This does not exempt them from taking a shower in their unit prior to entering the pool.

  1. Maintain the physical distance between the occupants of separate private units

  • On the areas surrounding the swimming pool and/or on the terrace, mark the spaces reserved for users on the ground with paint or adhesive tape. There must be at least two meters between these locations to comply with health regulations, up to four meters to facilitate traffic. Adapt the distances and the walkways according to the configuration of your common areas. Users should also maintain a distance of at least two meters between the members of different households. In pools, allow distances greater than two meters between moving bathers.

  • If necessary, remove pieces of furniture to facilitate traffic and respect the distances between users.

  • We recommend not to open whirlpool baths and bathing basins where it would not be possible to maintain a distance of two meters between users.

  1. Control access to the terrace and the swimming pool

  • According to ministerial decrees, there cannot be more than 10 people at the same time on the terrace or in the vicinity of the swimming pool (including other forms of water bodies). This limit must be respected at all times. Provide a system that allows you to indicate and/or control the number of people present in real time.

  • Depending on your situation, it may be necessary to set up a system to guarantee equal access for all occupants to the pool and/or terrace. There is no unique solution. Each syndicate must find the system that works best for them. Here are some ideas that you can adapt, improve or combine, to help fuel your planning:

    • Manage accesses by unit number, alternating between day, half-day or any other time slot;

    • Set up a reservation system, digital or paper, where reservations can be made in advance;

    • Limit the presence on the terrace and/or in the pool’s vicinity to specific time intervals (for example, 30 minutes or an hour) to ensure a rotation, especially during hot days;

    • Adapt the pool’s or terrace’s opening hours to adjust to certain co-owner’s practices.

  1. Communicate and exchange with the co-owners

  • Before preparing your pool’s or terrace’s deconfinement plan, talk to the co-owners to find out their needs and specific situations, and if there are any. Try to set up the operating model that is best suited to these needs, while scrupulously respecting the sanitary measures.

  • Once your plan for the deconfinement of the pool or terrace has been completed, take the time to assess the costs associated with it. Share this information with the co-owners to ensure that these additional expenses are well known.

  • Clearly display the instructions for accessing and using the swimming pool or terrace in the common areas. If you have set up a reservation system, explain the procedure in detail. You should also place in plain sight the government issued posters at the entrance to the patio or pool.