Re-opening the Centre in a COVID world
It’s appropriate to say; this is the most significant and challenging blog we’ve written for our customers. In these uncertain times, it’s reassuring to learn (from our recent customer survey) over 70% of you will be attending classes as soon as we re-open. However, we understand that not everyone is happy to return at this time, either due to shielding or through a nervousness about returning to public spaces. And to a greater or lesser extent, we probably all feel this way.
Over recent weeks, we’ve been busy building new site plans, risk assessments and staff and customer protocols in line with HM Government and Swimming National Governing Body (NGB) guidance to allow us to open safely. We are now in a position to share with you our plan for re-opening Calmababy. We hope it helps reassure you about the measures we are putting in place for your safety.
We have equipped all Calmababy Staff with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and they will wear this when appropriate to their duties. They have completed COVID-19 training modules and risk assessments to help them understand what is required to keep our customers COVID secure. Please support our staff by following their instructions.
With pre-swim checks, we considered a host of measures such as temperature testing, medical questionnaires and health screening–all of which provide a basic level of reassurance. Unfortunately, they are by no means a catch-all solution. Key factors to consider include pre-infections, differing symptoms or asymptomatic individuals and core body temperature variations. There are also enhanced concerns about data privacy. On balance, and after seeking further guidance, we decided not to undertake temperature testing for customers at this time. However, there will be health screening questions upon arrival.
In simple terms, we feel the government has laid out clear advice on when we should self-isolate. You must not visit Calmababy if either you, your child, a family member or someone you have been in contact with is showing symptoms or is unwell. As we have seen with COVID-19, self-isolation is one of our best defences against a further spread of the virus.
Government and NGB guidance recommends pool users shower pre & post-swim at home and to arrive ‘beach style’ with your costume under your clothes. *For children wearing nappies, we recommend you change them into their swim nappy on arrival in the dry changing rooms.
By temporarily closing the showers, it frees the space up for additional changing. We appreciate this may not be ideal; however, it is only a short term measure until further relaxations on social distancing come into place. To help us maintain our excellent water quality, please shower thoroughly before leaving home.
When you arrive at the Centre, please complete the health screening and track and trace requirements by scanning our QR code using your smartphone.
Please do not arrive in the building any earlier than ten minutes before the start of your class. There will be no access to the changing rooms before this time. Entrance to the building is through the main doors, and socially distanced queuing if required will be in place outside under Selina’s windows. One-way systems are in place inside the building, at least for the first term of swimming.
The receptionist will check you in as there will be no iPad’s on the reception desk for now, and will let you through to the changing rooms in time for your session. Please observe social distancing guidelines and Calmababy signage and directions at all times during your visit.
We support the use of face coverings, and you are welcome to wear a suitable face mask for protection during your visit. However, once face masks get wet, their effectiveness significantly reduces, which means you cannot wear them in the pool.
There will be a one-way system in place throughout the changing areas. We have created a unisex dry changing room, with cubicles for your privacy to change before your class. After swimming, there are separate wet changing areas for men and women.
Because of the one-way system, you’ll need to take all of your belongings (including shoes) with you into the pool hall. Please bring a large bag with you. The blue Ikea bags are ideal for this, and we have a small number available should you need one.
Please remain in the changing rooms until your class start time. The teacher will invite you in when the class before yours has exited the pool hall.
The poolside team are cleaning changing rooms after every use. We have marked each changing area with social distancing signs; please observe social distancing while in the changing areas.
We have plenty of space in our pool, and we will be implementing government guidance which requires a minimum of three square meters per bather. For all our classes, there will be a reduced number of bathers in the pool. Please respect social distancing in the pool and on the pool deck during lessons.
We endeavour to keep your experience of classes the same as they have always been. Lessons will run normally, but some adaptations will be necessary. For example, instructors may teach from the poolside on occasion. We aim to have only one class in the pool hall at any given time. The teacher will take a few minutes at the end of each class to allow for the safe movement of bathers through the pool hall. They will also be cleaning handrails and equipment after every session.
For the time being, we must limit the number of people in the pool and around the building. We can only accommodate one adult swimming with each child per class. At this stage, we are unable to offer plus-one spaces or allow spectators in the pool hall corridor.
Replacement classes will be available as usual; please make your bookings via the Calmababy App.
If you need assistance to attend your classes, such as a medical condition or disability, please contact us so we can make suitable arrangements.
Pool disinfection and air handling
We have always maintained the highest standards of pool water quality and disinfection. The Pool Water Treatment Advisory Group (PWTAG) has issued updated guidance which we have implemented. For increased safety, their advice is to maintain a lower pH and ensure primary disinfection remains at the high end of the pool range.
Our pool has secondary disinfection via UV filtration; this eliminates 99% of all micro-organisms. PWTAG, in conjunction with Public Health England (PHE), has confirmed correct disinfection levels in swimming pools help kill the virus within 15-30 seconds. COVID-19 is not waterborne or transmitted through pool water. Research from the World Health Organisation (WHO) shows that similar coronaviruses are sensitive to chlorination and UV light.
The main risk in a swimming pool is via person to person respiratory transmission–similar to any indoor public space. In 2016, we installed a Heatstar EC XF air handling unit at Calmababy. The system uses fresh air cooling to modulate the temperature, humidity and fresh air intake in the room. At full speed, it can deliver 3000m³/hr of fresh air into our pool hall. The unit will be running at 100% fresh air circulation, completely replacing the air in the pool hall every ten minutes.
We have always strived to maintain the highest standards of cleanliness at Calmababy. In addition to cleaning changing rooms after every use, the team will be paying particular attention to touchpoints around the building. We have also purchased a fogging machine which releases an anti-viral mist disinfecting all surfaces in any room. The device will be used daily in every changing room and poolside to ensure adequate disinfection of all surfaces each day. Deep cleaning will continue every evening as per our pre-lockdown routines.
Unless you are visiting Selina’s, please exit the building using the fire door at the end of the women’s changing room corridor. Access to Selina’s is via the pool hall corridor through to reception. Be aware there may be other customers queuing for their class in this area. So please ensure you continue to follow social distancing guidelines on your way through to the cafe.
But what about the cake?!
Selina’s will be open for eat-in and takeaway options. We have reduced the number of tables inside the cafe to ensure two-metre social distancing, and the garden will be open throughout the summer months. The garden space has had a makeover, and the outdoor play area upgraded with new toys and equipment for your children to enjoy. These will, of course, be cleaned and sanitised daily. We have also added a deli fridge stocked with a lovely range of items. And of course, as always, there will be plenty of cake!
Health and safety remain our number one priority at all times. We trust these steps offer reassurance that we are doing everything we can to make Calmababy COVID safe for your family. It is important to note that government and national governing body guidance is changing in real-time. We expect to update some of the measure outlined in this document to keep pace with these changes. If you are still unsure or have further questions, please talk to us–we are here to help.
Thank you for your co-operation.