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Get your cool on: Portland pools are open

Children play in the splash zone at Director Park in downtown Portland.
Children play in the splash zone at Director Park in downtown Portland.

Concerns about potential spread of COVID-19 led Portland city officials to keep outdoor swimming pools closed last summer. Pools were still closed over the city’s last few 90-degree days. But now, opportunities for cool wet refreshment are back.

Portland’s swimming pools reopened Tuesday with new procedures informed by ongoing concerns about a pandemic that is still not quite over. Interested swimmers have to register for hour-long visits through the Portland Parks & Recreation web site, where they can choose from “play swim,” “lap swim” and “water fitness” depending on the pool location.

“At pools, safety measures will include limited capacity, one-way traffic flow, increased cleaning protocols, and additional hand sanitizing stations,” says the parks web site, though it notes that face coverings are not required for people swimming or lounging on the pool deck.

If the rules and registrations of the pools seem too onerous, Portland’s splash pads — the sprinklers and fountains in parks throughout the city — have been open since mid-May. Whether you’re splashing among the statues of Beverly Cleary characters in Grant Park in Northeast Portland, or skipping through the rising waters at Jamison Square in the Pearl, there are few COVID-19 rules for the water features other than maintaining social distances and following general outdoor guidance.

Copyright 2021 Oregon Public Broadcasting