First and foremost, we wish you, and everyone, the best during this health crisis and want to thank you for doing your part to keep everyone as safe as possible while we all seek to slow the spread of COVID-19. Just like you, we at A-1 Pools are doing our part to help.
In the interest of public health, it is essential that man-made bodies of water, specifically pools and spas, be properly maintained and sanitized to prevent the growth and spread of disease and the growth of disease spreading mosquitoes. On a micro scale, a single pool or spa does not seem essential, however, when you consider over 250,000 pools and spas just in Wisconsin alone, it becomes apparent that, as the weather warms, pools and spas left unopened and/or not properly maintained will quickly worsen our current situation with regard to COVID-19 by introducing additional public health concerns. This is not to dismiss the risk of additional financial hardship that pool and spa owners will endure as a result of possible damage to their pools and spas if left closed and/or not properly maintained.
To prevent existing pools and spas from becoming an additional serious public health hazard and a hazard to the families that have them on their property, all swimming pools should be opened and maintained. To do otherwise would pose an additional health risk for the occupants of the residence with the pool and spa as well as the greater community.
We at A-1 Pools, along with the entirety of the pool and spa industry, firmly believe these limited functions of the pool and spa industry are Essential:
- Pool & Spa Retail businesses must continue distribution and supply of chemical sanitizers along with professional advice and water testing for the necessary purpose of maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of the existing pool and/or spa at their residence.
- Pool & Spa service companies must provide essential services necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of a residences pool and/or spa.
Leaving 250,000 residential pools and spas untreated while allowing take out pizza, landscaping activities and various delivery services is beyond irresponsible. That is why we, along with our industry leaders, believe it would be beneficial to the public for the State of Wisconsin to clearly list these functions as Essential so the public at large can be informed of the essential importance these functions have on public health and well-being and so all pool and spa business operators can provide these essential functions without fear of penalty. Several states have already done so.
In the meantime, we firmly believe these essential limited functions are confirmed and in harmony with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response:
- PUBLIC WORKS: “Workers such as plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences.”
- PUBLIC HEALTH: “Manufacturers....warehouse operators, and distributors of...cleaning, sanitizing, disinfecting or sterilization supplies...”
- CHEMICAL: “Workers supporting the chemical supply chains...including workers at chemical manufacturing plants...workers at distribution facilities...”
AND by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services Emergency Order #12 Safer at Home Order:
- Section 13n - Critical trades. Building and Construction Tradesmen and Tradeswomen: “…trades including but not limited to… other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences…”
- Section 13v: Manufacture, distribution, and supply chain for critical products and industries: “…distributors, and supply chain companies… supplying essential products and services in and for industries such as… chemicals and sanitation…”
A-1 Pools along with the pool & spa industry is presently operating in a limited capacity with minimal staff, strict adherence to the Social Distancing Requirements while following CDC Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers.
Fortunately, in comparison with other essential work, the risk to pool and spa professionals is mitigated by pool & spa retail locations operating with limited staff, most commonly 1 and at most 2 people on duty; and service professionals performing these limited essential functions that are most commonly working alone, not meeting the customer while working outside, and not entering the customer’s home.
It is worth noting, the CDC has stated there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to humans using pools and hot tubs. Proper operation, maintenance, and disinfection (e.g., with chlorine and bromine) of pools and hot tubs should remove or inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19. This is confirmed by the World Health Organization which released a paper titled “Water, Sanitation, Hygiene and Waste Management for the COVID-19 Virus” which states that the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19 is killed by 0.5 ppm or more of chlorine in the water, as well as other standard methods of disinfection.
This is good news considering many citizens rely on pools and spas for far more than recreation. Many rely on pools and spas as essential for physical therapy for chronic diseases including, but not limited to, arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis just to name a few. Additionally, water-based exercise improves mental health. For people with fibromyalgia, it can decrease anxiety, and exercise therapy in warm water can decrease depression and improve mood. A little stress relief should not be undervalued during times like this.
Please know that A-1 Pools is available to you as a resource. By working together, we will overcome this health emergency and start on the path to normalcy.