The Maplewood Community Pool will open for a 10-week season beginning July 6, with some public health modifications and a 25% reduction in membership fees.
All four pools will be open at reduced capacity, with assigned time slots and required pre-registration, said Township Committee member Greg Lembrich at a Township Committee meeting this spring. Members can call or go online to pre-register, and social distancing will be enforced.
The proposal is not final and will “continue to be a moving target,” Lembrich said. “We want people signing up for memberships to know what conditions and restrictions to expect,” he said. “Everyone who signs up will be aware that we’re in an environment that can change quickly.”
The pool will be reopened in two phases. In Phase 1, from July 6-13, there will be three daily sessions of 2 hours and 45 minutes each, with 45 minutes in between sessions for cleaning: 10:00am-12:45pm, 1:30pm-4:15pm, and 5:00pm-7:45pm.
333 guests would be allowed during each session, although there was discussion of returning to the earlier planned number of 250 guests per session.
After the initial two-week period, the second phase is set to begin on July 20 with the guest limit expanded to 500 at a time. Time slots will also change to two sessions of 4 hours and 30 minutes: one from 10:00am-2:30pm, and one from 3:30pm-8:00pm. Commuter swim will be from 6am-7:30am.
There will be daily pre-opening cleaning, as well as the daily cleaning times in between sessions, and staff cleaning throughout the day as needed. Pool managers and lifeguards will be present as usual, and deck assistants will be present to help with social distancing. Bathrooms will be available, but showers will be closed, and there will be no deck furniture or tables available so as to minimize cleaning.
For public health reasons, summer 2020 will also eliminate:
- Guest passes and non-member attendance due to state advice on contact tracing
- Private birthday parties and pool parties
- Local swim and dive teams and camps
- Food truck nights
- DJ nights
- Special float nights
- Poolside and paddleboard yoga
- The lifeguard certification course
As for the concession stand, Township Administrator Sonia Alves-Viveiros said that the Township is going to work on a modified contract with local vendor Freeman’s Fish Market and that the details had yet to be decided. Lembrich said that it would be good to have a concession stand open, especially once Phase 2 begins operation during longer meal-time slots.
Since the Community Pool is going to lose about one quarter of its operating time, the Recreation Department and the Pool Advisory Committee proposed to discount 2020 season member rates by 25%. Once the rates have been adopted, the township would work to refund those who have already paid the full rate. “We can’t discount it too much more because of pool operating costs,” said Lembrich.
The 25% discount would adjust membership rates as follows:
- Individual membership from $295 to $221
- Senior membership from $190 to $143
- Couples’ membership from $415 to $319
- Family membership from $495 to $371
- Large family and caregiver membership from $585 to $439
Because of the governor’s orders, the out-of-town resident option that has been offered over the last few years will be omitted. However, the township will be continuing its longstanding agreement with South Orange where community members can join the pool in the town where their children attend public school. South Orange residents to whom this applies can join the pool at Maplewood rates.
“We’re still hopeful that it’s going to be a great summer,” said Lembrich.
“We want to make sure that we’re being very cautious and safe and responsible,” said Deputy Mayor Dean Dafis. Health Officer Candice Davenport approved of the proposed plans, which she said were consistent with the current CDC and state health department guidelines. However, she asked whether the initial three shifts could be switched to 250 guests instead of 333, with an increase later on. Davenport encouraged going “low and slow” in reopening, and staying under the state recommendations.
TC member Vic De Luca suggested that the township’s Office of Emergency Management make a judgment call on whether to make the July 20 switch to more guests per period. TC member Nancy Adams said that decision should be up to the Health Officer and Recreation Department. “Let’s make the decisions that we can, not those that health officials need to,” Mayor Frank McGehee told the Committee. “The final decision has to be ironclad.”
The Township Committee voted to open the Community Pool and accept the 25% reduced fees for summer 2020.