CHICAGO (CBS) — It might be only 40 degrees this morning, but it’s April. That means Memorial Day is around the corner. Will you be able to splish-splash to your heart’s content? Or will many beaches and pools be closed again?
CBS 2 Morning Insider Lauren Victory dives into summer swimming plans.
Mitchell Pool in Deerfield is closed now, but what does it normally look like?
“This place is filled with happy, screaming children,” said Laura McCarty, Deerfield Director of Recreation.
Anticipate a lot more fun in the sun this summer. Water will fill both public swimming spots in Deerfield, instead of just Mitchell Pool, which opened late in 2020 because of COVID-19. It was one of the only community pools to do so in Lake County. This summer, both pools will open in June.
“The fact that we did operate last year, we did have a much better idea of how to operate while adhering to all the restrictions we must follow,” she said.
While the pools will be open, you won’t be able to sunbathe all day.
“We will sell daily swim and public swim time blocks,” McCarty said. Public swim will be sold in 2-hour time blocks for a daily fee. etween each public swim time block, the pool will close for 30 minutes to clean and sanitize all surfaces prior to admitting the next group of visitors.
The compromise? More people will be allowed on the pool deck at any given time.
Meantime, lap swimming and all other amenities will open Memorial Day weekend at Orland Park’s Centennial Park Aquatic Center. Despite last year’s late opening and capacity limits, 19,121 people splashed around at Centennial Park in 2020.
Normally, 80,000 to 100,000 visitors go to Centennial Park each year. Will Orland Park put a cap on daily visitors again? To be determined.
In north suburban Northbrook, a bit of drama, as leaders posted a YouTube video defending the decision to keep the Sports Center Pool closed again – this time, due to construction.
But unlike 2020, they said “We’re excited to open Meadowbrook Aquatics Center for the Northbrook residents.”
Looks like Elgin made a tough call too; keeping Lords Park Aquatic Center off-limits, but offering up Wings Park this season.
In Indiana, lifeguard hiring is already underway, with another busy beach season expected.
Last year, crowds swelled, with thousands of Chicagoans crossing the border to city, state, and national beaches in northwest Indiana.
Despite the progress with the vaccine, health officials are still warning that COVID is still out there. So how do officials plan to handle social distancing on the beach?
“We make announcements throughout the day,” said Mickey Rea, property manager at Indiana Dunes State Park. “Towards the end of the summer, when the numbers were changing, we did reduce our capacity.”
Rea said there’s no word yet on any caps this season. He said it all depends on health department guidance.
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources also recently announced most pools at state parks will re-open this year following 2020 closures due to COVID.
Chicago beaches were closed all of 2020, but CBS 2 just got word the city’s sandy shoreline will reopen on Memorial Day Weekend. The Chicago Park District also plans to fill the water at outdoor pools with a tentative reopening on June 18.