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Swimmers break from the gates at a swim meet held at Hood River Aquatic Center before COVID-19 shut down the pool in March.

Both the North Wasco Aquatic Center in The Dalles and the Hood River Aquatic Center have reopened with added health and safety policies meant to help keep staff and patrons safe during the ongoing pandemic.

The two facilities shut their doors in March when Gov. Kate Brown issued her “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order, and were allowed to reopen when their respective counties entered the Phase 2 stage of reopening. Wasco County entered Phase 2 on June 5 and Hood River County entered Phase 2 on June 19.

Hood River Aquatic Center

The Hood River Aquatic Center reopened June 25 with a new online reservation system, accessible via  hoodriverparksandrec.org/pool-schedule, that is designed to limit how many people are in the building at a time. Some walk-ins will be allowed, but spots will be limited, said a press release.

The online system redirects users to the Aquatic Center’s online booking platform, MindBody — account holders already have an account, but you’ll need to select “Need New Password” to get your account information.

Building hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends. Visit the website for a full swim schedule.

Visitors are asked to leave no later than 10 minutes after their assigned swim time ends so that Aquatic Center staff can clean and prep for the next group. Additionally, only one swimmer is allowed per lane (family units can have two people in one lane) and children under the age of 14 are limited to Family Swim Time, where they must also be accompanied by an adult.

Face coverings are not allowed in the pools themselves, but visitors are asked to wear masks in public spaces and to keep at least 6 feet of distance from people outside your household.  Visitors are also asked to come prepared in their suit and leave in their suit, whenever possible.

While the bathroom and showers are available, locker use is not allowed, and visitors are asked to bring all their personal belongings onto the pool deck. Lounge chairs are placed “in groups to maintain social distancing, but allow families to sit together,” said a press release. Visitors are asked not to move the furniture.

“We are excited to see you,” said a Hood River Valley Parks and Rec press release, “…Gov. Kate Brown’s guidelines and safety measures are meant to keep you and our staff safe. As a result, our schedule will look a little different, there will be some new rules and procedures, and a lot of cleaning.”

For updates on any changes in guidelines or procedures, visit hoodriverparksandrec.org/health-safety.

NW Aquatic Center

“We are excited to open, but it is not ‘back to normal,’” said the North Wasco Aquatic Center, also known as The Dalles Pool and Splash Park, in a press release.

The pool is reopens July 1 with four 90-minute open swim sessions every afternoon at 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. The pool will be thoroughly cleaned between sessions, said the press release. Visitors should enter through the northwest gate and exit through the east gate; admission should be paid in cash at the gate — exact change required — or visitors can buy a 10-visit punch card with a credit/debit card by calling the pool office in advance or outside the gate prior to a session.

Because of the shorter swim times — and because the pool won’t be selling Family Passes this year — the pool is reducing prices to $2 for kids 0-17 and $3 for adults 18 and over.

“Although we hope to be open until Labor Day, the state can end our season at any time,” said the press release. “A reduced-price entry offers the most flexibility and is the best option given our restricted operations, and uncertain season. You can purchase 10-visit punch cards in advance to avoid paying cash each time.”

Because every body through the gate counts towards maximum occupancy, every person is required to pay admission, even if they aren’t swimming.

Families or parties of up to 10 people may swim closely together, but are asked stay 6 feet away from other parties. People who want to swim for multiple sessions are allowed to do so, but they have to get back in the line and pay another admission fee.

The lobby and locker rooms will be closed — along with the Splash Pad — and swimmers are asked to arrive pre-showered in their swimsuits. Restrooms will be available.

Additionally, swim lessons won’t be offered, and the concession stand will be closed.

“There will be many other changes to help keep folks well separated and safe while they swim,” said the press release. The pool asks people to look to their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/NWCAquaticCenter for the most up-to-date information.

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