Swim England

A nation swimming

Chief executive Jane Nickerson explains timing of pool reopening guidance

Swim England News

Chief executive Jane Nickerson has explained why mid-June is the appropriate time to issue the pool reopening guidance.

I hope that the announcement of a date when we will issue the pool reopening guidance has provided a positive update to many on our important work in this area.

I understand there may be questions as to why it cannot be issued sooner.

However, it is important to remember that the guidance we issue will be based on the most up-to-date scientific evidence and data from across the world – as well as tailored to our own environment and culture.

We should not rush to get the guidance out as we are working alongside, and aligning with, Sport England, Public Health England and our partners.

The information and scientific information we are able to draw upon is updating frequently and a mid-June release date is the optimum time for this to be published.

This will ensure it contains the most relevant and up-to-date information for our operators and stakeholders.

It is important to remember that the Government will decide when pools can reopen – the publication date is based on the current road map which states July 4 at the very earliest.

The guidance clearly shows the amount of work needed in order to open facilities in compliance with social distancing and environmental requirements and, therefore, taking time to consult with those who will be using it is essential.

We thank all the partners working alongside us tirelessly to ensure the right guidance is issued at the right time.

We know people, particularly our members, are desperate to get into the water and we fully understand and support this.

Reducing the risks

However, in order to reduce the risks to everyone involved – the staff at the venues as well as those participating – we need to put in place robust systems and procedures.

Individuals can make their own risk assessment based on this information but we would also respectfully remind everyone wanting to get back into the water that there are many others to be considered, including staff.

There will be major financial challenges for pool operators, all of whom saw their income disappear overnight, and who will be faced with the dilemma of opening pools against the backdrop of less footfall and increased environmental costs.

Not only are we putting guidance together to support operators in opening in the most cost effective way possible, but we are asking all pool users to bear this in mind.

Clubs and swim schools should start a dialogue with their local pool following the announcement of opening and when operators are back in business (with their staff off furlough) to work out how they can get back in, using the guidance and respecting the issues the operators face.

This will be the time for everyone to work positively together to achieve our desired outcome.

Jane M Nickerson