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No date yet for the start of the season: City of Bonn prepares for opening of outdoor pools

No date yet for the start of the season : City of Bonn prepares for opening of outdoor pools

The City of Bonn is preparing its outdoor pools for the summer season, there is new software for visitor restrictions and ticket sales. However, the opening plan is linked to the federal emergency brake. Here’s what that means.

Swimming in the outdoor pools is one of the great pleasures of water enthusiasts in May, but at the moment it is uncertain when this can start in Bonn. The federal emergency brake currently prohibits the opening of swimming pools if the incidence of newly infected persons within the past seven days exceeds 100 per 100,000 inhabitants. The city of Bonn reported a value of 166.8 on Monday.

Nevertheless, preparations for the open-air swimming pool are in full swing, as the deputy head of the baths office, Elke Palm, said. The pools have been drained after the winter, cleaning and necessary repairs to the tiles are underway, as is the testing of the technical water treatment systems. The maintenance of the green areas has begun, which includes the care of the flowerbeds, but also the removal of overgrowth, which is mainly done by the employees of the baths office. A series of tests to check the water quality are still to follow.

Melbbad to stay closed

With the exception of the Melbbad, which cannot be used this season due to considerable damage caused by heavy rain in August and the poor condition of the changing room and sanitary building, the Römerbad, the Ennertbad, the Hardtbergbad and the Rüngsdorfer Panoramabad are available for swimming enthusiasts. And the Friesi will also be freed from its indoor bonnet on 10 May, according to Palm, and could go into operation soon.

However, the season can only start if the incidence value is below 100. Under what conditions splashing will then be possible? The state legislature has to regulate a new version of the Corona Protection Ordinance, which is not yet available. Palm said: "Although the opening of the swimming pools is not yet permitted, the Sports and Baths Office continues to prepare the open-air pools for opening and to create the basis for advance ticket sales, which can also be used to control the number of visitors. Last year's hygiene concept can be adapted to the current opening rules as soon as these are known." It is certain that the outdoor pools will not be opened all at once, but one after the other.

Visitor restrictions as in 2020

Last year, the season had started on Ascension Day on 21 May after announcements to the contrary by the then Lord Mayor Ashok Sridharan. The city presented a hygiene concept that, in addition to the familiar AHA rules - keep your distance, wash your hands, put on an everyday mask before entering - primarily limited the number of visitors. Visitors could book time slots in advance and pay for tickets immediately that way.

On weekdays, a total of three time slots were available early in the morning, in the morning and in the afternoon; on weekends, two time slots were available, either in the morning or in the afternoon. The maximum number of visitors was considerably limited, in contrast to pre-pandemic times. Take Römerbad, for example: where there used to be 6,000 bathers on a hot summer day, in 2020 only 950 were allowed.

Palm reports good experiences, which have also been reflected in a gratifyingly large number of positive messages from visitors. This year's season will be similar, subject of course to the requirements of the Corona Protection Ordinance. In order to keep the booking of appointments, payment and data tracing simple in the event of infection, the baths office has purchased new software that, unlike the one from last year, is directly linked to the cash register system. In 2020, by the way, no virus transmissions have been proven to be due to a visit to the baths, said Palm.

Ute Pilger, chairwoman of the Bonn City Sports Association, said that learning courses for children and young people could not take place in the outdoor pools this season due to the restrictions: "However, the clubs will try to offer courses in the school swimming pools during the holidays, if the situation permits." Talks are being held with the baths department. A "swimming offensive" was called for, "because many children were practically condemned to do nothing for a year". Especially many non-swimmers between the ages of four and six had not been able to learn anything during this time or had not been able to consolidate what they had learned. (Original text: Philipp Königs / Translation: Mareike Graepel)