COVID-19 Pool Operations

Aquatics Policies and Procedures

June 8, 2020
by YMCA of Memphis & the Mid-South

Aquatics areas, such as swimming pools, hot tubs and sauna must take extraordinary precautions beyond what is normally recommended to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

To ensure your safety and the safety of others, we will continue to have limited services at this time. We will have limited capacities for all aquatics areas and programs.
You must register for any time you wish to spend at your local Y pool.

NOTE: Steam Rooms and Saunas are CLOSED.

To reserve your spot for Lap Swimming, Open Swim, or Water Aerobics, you will need to create an account with our new online reservations system. 


You can also register for Open Swimming/Lap Swimming, and Water Aerobics at the branch Welcome Center.

  • You must register for an appointment to guarantee your spot.

Registrations can be made up to 48 hours in advance. Same day appointments will be accepted if there is room available in the class.



In accordance with CDC considerations for public pools, the following policies and procedures will be put in place to ensure the health and well-being of the public:

Public Protection:

  • Health Screening: Anyone entering the aquatics venue will be required to pass a health screen before being allowed to enter the facility, which consist of a series of questions regarding COVID-19 Symptoms. 
    • The following questions will be asked to enter:
  1. Have you been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19?
  2. Are you experiencing a cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat?
  3. Have you had a fever in the last 48 hours?
    Please stay home if you or your family member is feeling ill.
  • Cloth Face Coverings: We encourage the use of face coverings as feasible and especially when out of the water.
    • Face coverings are not allowed in the water. Cloth face coverings can be difficult to breathe through when they’re wet.
  • Handwashing: Anyone entering the aquatics venue will be required to sanitize or wash their hands.
    • Frequent handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the restroom, before and after eating, after blowing one’s nose, after one touches their face, or after assisting another person.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, then use alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. 
  • Personal Belongings: Outside toys and equipment will not be allowed, unless approved by the facility staff, to prevent the spread of germs.

Pool Operations:

  • Social Distancing:
    • To maintain adequate social distancing of 6 ft apart, the Y is limiting the number of people allowed in the pool by using a percentage defined by functional capacity. 
    • Lap Swimming
      • For lap swimming, there should be one swimmer per lane (unless lap swimmers are of the same household). Members are expected to swim in the middle of the lane to allow for maximum distance between heads.
      • For any organized activity in lap lanes, such as aqua joggers or water walkers, there should only be one person per lane to maintain six-foot social distances from each other.
    • Slides: Facilities that have a slide will only allow one person at a time to climb up to the slide and must allow for only one person to be in the plunge basin at a time.  If there is a line, social distancing guidelines will be enforced for the safety of our members. A staff member  may be positioned to monitor the slide and visible markers in place for social distancing in a line when possible.
    • Deck Layout: Deck chairs and tables will be at least 6 feet of separation between families or small groups of acquaintances. 
      • Pool Furniture: Members should not move pool seating so that social distancing is maintained at all times. Certain branches may choose to not provide seating at this time. 
  • Limited Use Time: Each person will be allowed to spend a maximum of 50 minutes in the aquatics venue at a time. This allows for staggering or rotation shifts for the public to be at the aquatics venue at the same time.  
  • Closed for Cleaning: The pool will close at a minimum of every 1.30 hours to complete cleaning, individual operators may choose to close more frequently based on their operational policies.
  • Pool Equipment and Toys: Each branch will be disinfecting and sanitizing shared equipment between each user.   

Additional Aquatics Safety Guidelines

  • Group Sizes: Group sizes of aquatic fitness classes, swim lessons, swim practices, or gatherings are limited based on the local health guidelines. 
    • Executive Order No. 30, which prohibits participation in social or recreational gatherings of ten (10) or more people, must be observed until no longer in effect.
    • Group games involving the use of balls, flotation devices, or other toys are not permitted.

Programming Restrictions

  • Swim Lessons:
    • At this point, due to the inherent nature of swimming lessons, social distancing is not possible for participants based on age and skill abilities. This is likely to mean that only lessons for more advanced swimmers or parent-child lessons will be allowable initially, in order to avoid close contact of non-family members. Additional guidance will be provided for best, safe practices on swim lessons before aquatics venues will be permitted to continue this programming.
  • Water Aerobics: Water Fitness Exercise classes are permitted. We will continue the functional water capacity and under the guidelines for group fitness classes to ensure social distancing and safe practices.  For water aerobics, swimmers should maintain six-foot distances from each other.


To learn more about your branches Pool Hours and Operations, please visit your local Y branch page.