There will be no traditional Memorial Day opening of Joplin pools this year.
Joplin city officials have pushed back any possible opening until mid-June because of the COVID-19 pandemic and complications it has caused in preparing for the season and operations.
Schifferdecker Aquatic Park is tentatively scheduled to open June 15 with decisions yet to be made on pools at Cunningham and Ewert parks, said Paul Bloomberg, parks and recreation director. The splash pad at Parr Hill Park will open, but a date is yet to be determined.
"This is only tentative and could change in the upcoming days and weeks," he added.
One reason is because the city has had no place to train lifeguards, who have to be on board before any of the pools can be opened. Available indoor pools where the city has trained in the past have been closed, and it has been too cold and wet to hold training at the outdoor city pools, Bloomberg said.
He said the parks department has been working with the Joplin Health Department, the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the city's lifeguard agency, the American Red Cross, to develop plans for lifeguard safety and safe pool operations if they can be opened.
City steps toward that end include setting capacity limits so there is room for social distancing, scheduling more shifts for lifeguards so they can sanitize pool surfaces every hour, and closing some features.
"When we do open Schifferdecker, and this is tentative, we would not be able to open our lazy river," Bloomberg said. "To do social distancing in that part of the pool would be impossible. We wouldn't allow the tube slide."
At Schifferdecker, not more than 375 people would be allowed in at one time. The usual capacity is 1,500, Bloomberg said. Cunningham and Ewert can hold 400, so the limit this season would be 100 at a time. People would be let in as others leave, he said.
Employees will be screened each day for symptoms of the virus.
People who are sick, both employees and guests, should stay home. Guests are asked to bring and use hand sanitizer. Guests also are asked to use social distancing except with their own family members.
Showers will be closed, and restrooms will be cleaned hourly.
Bloomberg said season passes will be sold later and that the prices will be set to reflect the shortened season.
Schifferdecker will operate from 1 to 6 p.m. seven days a week.
Free swim sessions are canceled. Swimming lessons are planned to start June 29 and July 20.
Pool party rentals can be made after July 6.
Park picnic shelters can be reserved for groups of 10 or fewer until the city moves to the second step in the reopening plan, which could happen in about two weeks.
There are still openings for lifeguards and other workers who can apply on the city's website at www.joplinmo.org, Bloomberg said.