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Attendance down at pool this summer

Officials say the pool averaged 40 swimmers for afternoon sessions

—Daily Freeman-Journal file photo The Webster City outdoor pool saw smaller crowds in the two months it was open this summer. Officials said the average daily census at the pool was about 40 swimmers. The pool closed for the season on Sunday.

There were plenty of hot, humid days this summer, the perfect kind conditions for a trip to the municipal pool. But officials with the Webster City Department of Recreation and Public Grounds said that attendance was quite low at the outdoor pool.

The pool, which opened for the summer on June 23, officially closed for the season on Sunday, Aug.16. Larry Flaws, director of Recreation and Public Grounds, said the staff at the pool put extensive safeguards in place in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The safety measures included stringent sanitation procedures, closing down the diving boards and water slide, and putting a cap on attendance

The maximum capacity was set at 108 swimmers to allow for social distancing, according to Flaws.

“But we didn’t hit that cap this summer,” he said. “I think our average attendance was about 40 people for the afternoon public swim session.”

In a normal year without COVID-19, the dog days of summer might have brought out several hundred swimmers.

Even though three of the lifeguards at the pool tested positive for COVID-19 early in the summer, Flaws said there were no further incidents of virus during the pool season.

“Considering all of the unknowns we faced, I think it went pretty well,” he said. “The people who used it definitely enjoyed the pool.”

With area schools getting ready to begin a new academic year next week, Flaws reminded parents that Fuller Hall will not be available after school for children.

“We’re going to hold off (on letting children in) for a while. Right now, Fuller Hall is open to those 15 and older,” he said. The fitness and cardio rooms are open and the indoor pool will be available for lap swimming.

“We just filled the pool and it will be open on Monday for lap swimming,” said Flaws.

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