Outdoor swimming pool and COVID-19

Although according to the National Institute of Public Health of Quebec (INSPQ), the risk of contracting COVID-19 in a swimming pool is very low or non-existent, access to swimming pools remains prohibited until further notice.  According to virologist Hugues Loemba, a clinician-researcher at Montfort Hospital in Ottawa, the risk does not come from water, but from "promiscuity between healthy people and those with COVID-19 (asymptomatic or symptomatic)" ».

Requirements for opening

The gradual deconftinement will, perhaps, allow the reopening of swimming pools within buildings held in condominiums divides. But before doing so, the syndicate of co-owners will have to take all necessary precautions to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the building.

In order to comply with the two-metre physical distance rule, a policy should be established to restrict access to the pool to a number of swimmers. To effectively manage thisreality, it will be necessary to set up a reservation system that will specify its swimming time.

The board of directors will have to introduce very strict hygiene measures, for example by requiring bathers to take a soap shower before accessing the pool. A rigorous maintenance program to disinfect stairs, dives and furniture around the pool will need to be established. And this is not to mention regular control of the adequate level of chlorine in pool water.

Mandatory presence of lifeguards?

The Public Bath Safety Regulations specify in section 19 that a swimming pool with a water surface greater than 150 m2 must be equipped with monitoring stations. Section 26 states that the owner must ensure that the minimum number of lifeguards and lifeguard assistants is in accordance with Schedule 3. However, in Appendix 3 of this regulation, it states that a pool of more than 150 m2 must have at least one lifeguard at all times when the pool is open.

The question then arises: should co-owners' unions in these specific circumstances retain the services of lifeguards? According to the Quebec Building Authority (as of May27,2020):since  pools of condominiums are not part of the current scope of the Public Bath Safety Regulations (Chapter B-1.1, r.11).

These divided condominiums are not considered public buildings.  As a result, swimming pools are excluded from the scope of section 2 of the regulation, and the monitoring requirements of section 26 are not applicable.


By Me Yves Joli-Coeur for Condolegal.com

Montreal, May 28, 2020