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Some outdoor public pools reopen in Omaha

Posted at 6:47 PM, Jul 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-01 19:47:13-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — For the first time since the coronavirus pandemic hit, Omaha public pools are inviting guests back into the water.

Five outdoor pools are now open, something that until mid-June was not expected.

But just a few weeks ago, some anonymous donors contacted the mayor's office, offering to help pay to open the facilities.

"Honestly our staff is so great that we had a quick turnaround and we felt really fortunate that everything is up and running. There's been no hiccups and everybody's been trained and so we're really excited to open," said Marquette Ryan with the City of Omaha Special Projects.

Eager swimmers are also glad to see the pools reopening -- like Drew Dimas and her children, who said they waited in line at Zorinsky Pool for 40 minutes to make sure they had a spot.

The pools are only allowing for 75% occupancy.

"We don't have a place where we can have a pool so we were really excited to hear when the pools were going to be open," said Dimas.

The pools are taking steps to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Lifeguards will wear masks when off their chairs and interacting with guests. Social distancing markers are placed around the pools and the concessions stands are closed. Guests can bring in their own food and drinks, as long as they are not alcoholic or in glass containers.

The pool time runs from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. with a 30-minute break at 4 p.m.

"In between sessions we will actually be doing some cleaning, so we will be santizing any high touch points, cleaning the restrooms," said Marquette Ryan with the City of Omaha Special Projects.

Dimas said she feels safe bringing her family to the pool.

"Because we're in the fresh air in the sun, so that's kind of why we want to spend our time here instead of being indoors," said Dimas.

Pool admission is $2 with proceeds going to the food bank.

Along with the five outdoor pools, the Parks Department has also opened three indoor pools. You can learn more about what changes to expect for the indoor facilities here.