Ector County reverses decision, opens apartment and hotel pools

Published: May. 15, 2020 at 3:31 PM CDT
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The Ector County Health Department has decided to allow pools at apartments, hotels and motels to open.

Officials had said earlier this month that they would not allow the pools to open for the 2020 season.

This decision does not affect the City of Odessa's pools, which will remain close for the summer.

Ector County Commissioner Eddy Shelton made the announcement on a joint conference call Friday afternoon, saying that since residents had following distancing rules so well so far, the county was comfortable opening pools back up.

According to a release, pools that are opening must follow these requirements:

Promoting Behaviors that prevent the spread of COVID-19

Hand Hygiene, Respiratory Etiquette and Adequate Supplies

Encouraging all staff, patrons, and swimmers to wash their hands often and cover their coughs and sneezes.

The facility must provide or require the visitor to have hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol with them while in the pool area. Once the individual exits the water they are required to sanitize their hands before touching any objects.

Modified Layout

Changing deck layouts to ensure that in the standing and seating areas, individuals can remain at least 6 feet apart from those they don’t live with (provide signage stating the distance requirement).

Signs and Messages posted in Pool area

Educating staff, patrons, and swimmers about when to stay home (for example, if they have symptoms of COVID-19, have tested positive for COVID-19, or were exposed to someone with COVID-19 within the last 14 days).

Signage on how to stop the spread of COVID-19, properly hand washing, promotes everyday protective measures, and proper use of cloth face coverings. Posted in highly visible locations (example of signage can be found on the CDC website).

Maintaining Health Environments

Cleaning and Disinfection

Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces at least daily and shared objects each time they are used. For example:

Handrails, slides, and structures for climbing or playing

Lounge chairs, tabletops, pool noodles, and kickboards

Door handles and surfaces of restrooms, handwashing states, and showers

Water Systems

Drinking fountains must not be in use for the 2020 season

Shared Objects

Discourage people from sharing items that are difficult to clean, sanitize, or disinfect (goggles, nose clips, snorkels, pool noodles, kick boards etc.).


Avoid group events, gatherings, or meetings both in and out of the water if social distancing of at least 6 feet between people who don’t live together cannot be maintained.

Exceptions would be anyone rescuing a distressed swimmer, providing first aid, or preforming cardiopulmonary resuscitation, with or without an automated external defibrillator, or the process of evacuating an aquatic venue or entire facility due to an emergency.