State pools and beaches reopening

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BENTON TOWNSHIP, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — State pools are opening as early as two weeks from Friday.

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources made the announcement Thursday. What does all this mean for people at the pool and DCNR employees?

Along with pools, all 58 state park beaches will open one week from Saturday, May 30th. Both are going to draw crowds in a time many counties still remain in the yellow phase.

Coming off the winter, DCNR pools have remained closed through the pandemic. Friday, pool maintenance at Frances Slocum State Park got underway, preparing for a June 13th opening date.

“On a normal day we have a 1,000 person capacity,” Lackawanna State Park manager Rob Barrese said.

Barrese says its’ pool is also on the list to reopen.

“It’s definitely a concerning thing because we have seen some very large crowds last season,” Barrese said.

DCNR says it plans to limit capacity to 50 percent for both pools and beaches which seems to contradict Governor Wolf’s yellow phase order of groups of 25 people or less.

“We’re hoping that they have the sense to not go over and talk to people that they never talked to before and start shaking their hands and patting them on the back and it’s not being facetious,” DCNR press secretary Terry Brady said.

Brady says DCNR plans to control the number of swimmers that enter the pool by restricting visitor parking. Other mitigation measures include controlling facility access, additional cleaning protocols, encourage social distancing and the use of face masks.

“At your beach areas and swimming pool areas, if you’re not in the water you will be expected to wear a face mask,” Brady said.

Lackawanna’s state park manager says lifeguards will not “police” guests at the pool.

“I’m sure we are going to encounter scenarios where people are not going to want to do those things and distancing in a swimming pool with kids is very difficult. I worry a lot about the commonly touched surfaces, aspirating,” Barrese said.

DCNR expects visitors to follow CDC and its guidelines to avoid the exposure of COVID-19. Lackawanna State Park’s pool is slated to open a week later than others on June 20th. For more information, click here.

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