splashdown.jpg

Splashdown Water Park [Courtesy Prince William parks and rec]

Prince William County-owned outdoor pools and waterparks will not open during the 2020 summer season due to health and operational concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We came to the conclusion it is not feasible without placing people at risk and safety is our top priority,” said Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Director Seth Hendler-Voss. “We understand how disappointing this must be for the thousands of visitors who depend on us for summer memories and relief from the heat. We regret we could not find a way forward.”

Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism spokesperson Brent Heavner said the biggest barrier to opening the pools for the upcoming season is the inability to train and prepare seasonal staff in time to operate during the summer of 2020 due to ongoing social distancing guidance. During a regular summer season, DPRT normally hires 600-800 seasonal staff and is the largest seasonal employer of youth in Prince William County.

“The county’s pools and waterparks rely on a large seasonal staff including lifeguards, park attendants, cooks, concessionaires, and other team members,” says Heavner. “Much of the safety training these positions require, especially our lifeguards, requires close contact. That training cannot begin until social distancing guidance guidelines are lifted, as anticipated in Phase III of the Commonwealth’s Forward Virginia Blueprint.”

With Phase I reopening for Northern Virginia anticipated to begin at the end of May, and social distancing guidelines anticipated to remain through Phase II, the training required for many seasonal pool positions would not likely be able to begin until mid-July.

“By the time we would be able to complete staff training and ready our outdoor aquatic facilities for opening, we would be very late into the pool season when we would usually be preparing to close several of those facilities down for the season,” said Heavner.

DPRT is exploring the feasibility opening the indoor pools within its two recreation centers once doing so is safe and practical based on the Commonwealth’s Forward Virginia Blueprint.

DPRT operates two outdoor waterparks, four outdoor community pools, and two recreation centers with indoor pools. Historically, the pools and waterparks operated by the Prince William County Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism have regularly hosted over 200,000 patron visits annually.

(8) comments

PWC resident since '69

What a clown show! Think outside the box, quit being lazy and taking the Pelosi way! Be innovative!

BennieB

[thumbup]

Lawson is clueless

Simply speaking, the County doesn’t want to pay for Park and Recreation employees. The County BOCS should vote on this. Plenty of time to get the training they need.

PWC resident since '69

Exactly, there was already $$ in budget for this, plans should have been implemented weeks ago to follow new protocols...short sighted and narrow minded...more kids out of work for summer and lower income families with little or nothing to do for local entertainment

Bob1

Our Dumb as Dirt Democratic County is clueless. They do not give a dam about the people only their political livelihood. Ann Wheeler - Nancy Pelosi II

BennieB

[thumbup]

BennieB

What a cop out. I am speechless. Our county supervisors are clowns. After we voted to delay our Phase 1 we now reach out to open restaurants for outside seating.

Citizen52

So, being out in fresh air and swimming in a chlorinated pool is dangerous, now.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.