Park District pools to remain closed this summer

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Elmhurst Park District will be keeping East End Pool and Smalley Pool closed for the 2020 swim season. Everyone who purchased a season pass will be able to carry the pass over to use during the 2021 season.

The Elmhurst Park District Board and staff continue to put the health and safety of the community and staff at the forefront of decisions during this pandemic. The District has been faced with many difficult choices in the last two months such as cancelling events and programs and limiting access to park amenities, and this was no different.

“This decision was not made lightly, and we understand that many people will be disappointed,” said Executive Director Jim Rogers, “So many families look forward to the hot summer days of swimming at the pools with family and friends, and this summer we won’t be able to provide that for them. In addition, as the largest employer of youth in the community, we also understand the huge impact caused by not hiring seasonal staff. But safety and sanitation have to take priority, and I hope folks understand why we had to make this decision.”

It takes approximately five weeks to prep the pools for opening, which includes filling and treating the water; cleaning and setting up the facility; recruiting, hiring, and training more than 100 lifeguards; onboarding admissions and guest services staff; and purchasing the necessary equipment and supplies. In a normal year, the pool is filled and guards are hired and trained by mid-May, but due to the stay-at-home order, staff has been unable to start any of the necessary prep work.

In addition, in order to operate East End and Smalley Pools, staff would need to comply with social distancing guidelines, gathering limits, and cleaning/disinfecting guidelines, many of which have yet to be fully developed for swimming pools. It was unclear how the pools would be able to open safely and still comply with those strict limits and protocols issued by the CDC and Illinois Department of Public Health, and therefore the decision was made to remain closed. This closure also means that swim lessons and aquatic programs will not be held this summer.

The Elmhurst Park District is anxious to get back to a new “normal” so we can serve our residents again, but until that time, we must operate based on recommendations of state officials and the CDC. We take our responsibility to prevent the spread of COVID-19 seriously while the safety and well-being of our residents remains our highest priority as we to seek a return to normalcy in the future.

We thank the community for their patience and understanding as we all navigate these difficult times.