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Open-air swimming: No crowds at weekend despite summer weather

Open-air swimming : No crowds at weekend despite summer weather

No need to reserve before visiting: but only a few swimmers came to the Hardtberg and Rüngsi pools over the weekend.

Although it is the beginning of autumn, summer has returned to Bonn. The warm temperatures offer the chance to swim in the open air again. All the more reason to take advantage of the new freedom the city has been offering its swimmers since the beginning of the week. The much-criticised online booking system for the Bonn pools was discontinued last Tuesday.

The city announced that advance reservations were no longer necessary and that pool visiting hours are no longer restricted. For tracing, bathers only have to fill out a contact sheet at the ticket office and hand it in again when leaving, explained a staff member of the Hardtberg pool. Despite the relaxation in the rules, the Sports and Pool Authority considers itself well-prepared for the coming days, as city spokesman Marc Hoffmann advised in response to a GA enquiry. “The staff in the open-air swimming pools has been increased compared with previous days. We expect that the visitors will be spread out over the whole day and we do not expect any queues in front of the open-air pools," he announced. Should queues nevertheless form, the pool staff will make sure that distancing rules are observed, Hoffmann said.

Despite the good weather, only a few bathers used the Bonn swimming pools on Saturday. Where large queues had previously formed in front of the ticket offices, empty entrances and corridors could be seen over the weekend. The lawns at the Hardtberg pool were also surprisingly empty. There were a few people sitting in the stands and some lane swimmers in the sports pool. A guidance system led visitors in two directions from the ticket office to the pool and back. Five employees made sure that distances were maintained inside and outside the pool. “After minor teething problems, the protective measures here have levelled off,” reported one lifeguard. According to him, the visitors were adhering to the regulations and "satisfaction" had also returned. "It's worked out well," he said. The lifeguard also noted that relatively few bathers had come to the Hardtberg.

Visitor Beate Oftadeh, on the other hand, was pleased with the large amount of space available. "I think it's great here today," she said. She swims regularly at the Hardtberg and has had no problems here so far. "The safety measures are very well observed, and the changing rooms and showers are in good condition," she reported. The online booking system was also "manageable" with the help of her son, the swimmer said. With a view to the late summer temperatures, however, Oftadeh expressed a wish: "The pools could be kept open until the end of October. The weather is usually still nice until then," she suggested. Dorothee Stappler is also satisfied with the Bonn pools. "I have tested all of them and the protective measures are well implemented," she said. The use of the pools is "well organised", and the system can also be transferred to indoor pools in the winter. On the other hand, Stappler sees the decision to discontinue with online reservations as critical. "It has worked so far, but you have to wait and see how full it gets in the next few days," she warned.

The situation at the panorama pool in Rüngsdorf at the weekend was the same: relatively empty lawns and paths. Occasionally children jumped off the one-metre high diving board and adults could be seen soaking up the sun on their blankets. Couple Fabian Säcker (27) and Luisa Knödler (28) made themselves comfortable at the back of the grounds. They were surprised about the amount of space. "We thought there would be more going on here", said Säcker. "With all this space you can only keep your distance," joked Knödler. Both of them had seen on the Internet by chance that they could come back to the pool without making a reservation. "Once the word gets around that you can just come back here, it will be fuller," Säcker said.

The Williams family had also expected a fuller "Rüngsi". "I don't think people even know that regular operations have reopened," Tanja Williams suspected. Her husband criticised the city: “It could have been communicated better,” said Jonathan Williams. The open-air swimming pool season was extended at the beginning of the week in four of Bonn's pools. Hardtbergbad, Römerbad, Ennertbad and Rüngsdorf will remain open until 27 September.

(Original text: Niklas Schröder, Translation: Caroline Kusch)