City officials are allowing Gilley Pool to open on Saturday, June 13, but it will not be business as usual for the popular outdoor recreational facility.
McMinnville’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen met Tuesday night and outlined restrictions that will be in place.
Among the constraints approved will be a reduced maximum capacity of 200 and only Warren County residents will be admitted.
Other stipulations include:
• no hand stamps to leave and return
• visitors must bring their own chairs
• no season passes
• slides will be closed
• diving boards remain open
• daily hours of operation will be divided into two, 4-hour periods with the cost of admission being $5 per session
Changes were instituted during a lengthy discussion in which the city Parks and Recreation Department outlined three options: 1) open for classes only, 2) open for recreational swimming and classes, 3) not open for the 2020 season.
Options one and three were quickly dismissed.
“We would be open for a 2-hour block or a 4-hour block,” said Parks and Recreation assistant director Justin Scott. “That means we would open the pool at 10 a.m., stay open until 12."
"We would close the pool to clean it. Max capacity 200 people. All of those people would leave. After we clean everything for 30 minutes, we would open again for the next group of folks. We would do that throughout the course of the day. We’ve thrown it around if we want to go with a 2-hour block or a 4-hour block,” Scott said.
Mayor Ben Newman and Alderman Steve Harvey voiced approval for four hours (10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 30 minutes to clean, and 2:30 to 6:30 p.m.).
Each block of time will be separate, regardless of when the visitor arrives. For example, if individuals arrive at 12 p.m., they will be asked to leave at 2 p.m. when the pool closes to be cleaned. If they wish to reenter during the second session, admission will be $5.
Alderman Mike Neal recommended admission be for local residents only.
“I don’t want people from highly infected areas, because we’re the only place open in the state, coming here to swim,” said Neal.
Patrons must provide proof of residency and, if needed, bring their own chairs.
“I would take every chair and table out,” said Alderman Everett Brock. “People can bring their own and take them home.”
Department staff suggested no season passes be issued. Harvey asked why.
“My theory is, if I buy a pass and I could never get into the pool because we were at max, I would be really, really ticked,” said Parks and Recreation director Scott McCord. “At least if they are paying $5 at the door, they aren’t out any money if they can’t get in. That’s just my feelings.”
Harvey replied, “That makes sense.”
Pool staff will urge social distancing between family groups.
“I think we can do this,” said McCord. “Do I have reservations? I’d be lying if I said I didn’t. We can make this happen.”
State guidelines require a log be kept of visitors so they can be contacted if need be.
“The governor’s plan also includes that we have to keep a log in case we were to have an outbreak so we can contact everybody who was there that day,” said McCord. “Anybody who comes will be signing in and a phone number requested so we can contact them.”
Staff will use gloves and facemasks when handling money or concession stand food and will have their temperatures taken at the beginning of each shift.
Brock suggested initial police presence, to which McCord replied, “All joking aside, we’ve all said that it’s not when we get cussed out, it’s who will be cussed out.”
“When it goes beyond that is what I’m concerned about,” said Brock.
Mayor Newman suggested the Parks and Recreation Department begin educating the public about the changes so they will not come as a shock to people as they enter the gate June 13.