Information current

November 29, 2020

We're in Phase 3 of our COVID-19 Path Forward plan. Watch the latest video update. For medical questions or if you feel ill, phone 811, or launch the COVID-19 self-assessment tool.

Read our self-isolation rules for everyone entering Yukon.

Public pools reopening guidelines: COVID-19

Elimination controls

Employees who are sick with symptoms of COVID-19 must remain home and contact their health provider or phone 811 for medical information.

Administrative controls

  • Employees must use the self-assessment tool or other screening before coming into work.
  • Ensure all staff are knowledgeable with respect to how COVID-19 is transmitted (i.e., droplet and contact transmission).
  • Ensure hand washing stations or hand sanitizing products are available and accessible to all employees and users. Hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol content is highly recommended at entrances, exits, and throughout the facility.
  • If while at work, an employee starts experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness consistent with COVID-19, even if symptoms are mild, ask the employee to don a mask, to leave work immediately, to go straight home, and to contact their health provider or phone 811 for further guidance.
  • Ensure that objects and surfaces touched by sick employees who have gone home are cleaned and disinfected before being used by others.
  • Keep daily records of the employees who worked together and retain these records for at least 30 days.

Elimination controls

  • Place signs near entrances informing patrons of the physical distancing methods being used in your facility. Place floor markers where lines form to ensure two metres (six feet) distance between patrons at all times.
  • Maintain a single point of entry into your facility. Entry, including lines and waiting areas, are to be regulated to prevent congestion. Physical spacing of two metres must be maintained.
  • Monitoring physical distancing must not be the responsibility of any on-duty lifeguard. A lifeguard’s primary responsibility is to watch over the bathers while they are in or around the facility and to supervise bather safety. Facility operators/owners must identify additional staffing requirements and hire staff to assist in monitoring physical distancing.
  • Reduce maximum bather loads to limit the number of patrons in the pool at one time and to ensure that 2 metre (6 feet) spacing between patrons is maintained at all times.
  • A 2 metre “bubble” of space should be maintained around each patron using the pool or hot tub, unless they are from the same party.
  • For large hot tubs, consider placing visual markers* around the hot tub edge at 2 metre increments.
  • Hot tubs with a diameter less than 2 metres must only be used by one person or family unit at a time.
  • Mark* 2 metre increments where crowds normally form (e.g. line-up at diving board/slides).
  • Consider using one-way markers* on deck spaces so people do not have to pass each other.
  • Areas where physical distancing is difficult or impossible should remain closed (e.g. saunas, steam rooms).
  • Consider closing spectator areas unless seating can be arranged to maintain a minimum of 2 metres between people.
  • If using pool deck furniture, place markers* on the deck at 2 metre increments to indicate chair positioning, ensuring none are placed within the four-foot perimeter of the pool.
  • Aquatic programs capable of consistently maintaining 2 metres of separation may be possible, at the discretion of the program manager.
  • Lane swimming may be allowed where a minimum 2 metre spacing can be consistently achieved among the lane occupants (or a maximum of 7 people per 25 m lane).
  • Provide 2 metre separation between participants in fitness classes such as water aerobics.
  • Swimming lessons which involve physical contact between the instructor and students (or between students) should be discouraged.

* Physical distancing visual markings on pool decks must not create a slipping hazard (e.g., no slippery tape) and must not obstruct safety signs such as depth marks or no diving.

Physical distancing exceptions

Physical distancing in a public pool facility is not applicable in the following circumstances:

  • When providing close supervision of children for whom one is responsible.
  • When assisting a person in distress.
  • When providing first aid or lifesaving measures.
  • When assisting persons with disabilities.

 

Elimination controls

Practice no contact greetings.

Engineering controls

  • Provide a supply of alcohol-based hand sanitizer at the entrance to the facility, pool enclosure and/or front check-in desk.
  • Washrooms and showers must have liquid soap, paper towels and warm running water at all times.

Administrative controls

  • Ensure staff are practicing proper hygiene. This includes frequent hand washing throughout their shift, coughing or sneezing into an elbow rather than a hand or the environment, and avoiding touching one’s face.
  • Encourage patrons to use hand sanitizer upon entry.
  • Educate employees about the virus so they know how to minimize its spread.

Engineering controls

  • Consider having separate cleaning supplies for different areas of the facility.
  • Provide multiple plastic lined waste containers to dispose of used tissues, wipes, gloves, and other cleaning materials.

Administrative controls

  • Continue routine pool maintenance.
  • Enhance cleaning and disinfection policies and procedures.
  • Record when cleaning and disinfection has occurred.
  • When cleaning bathrooms and changing rooms, avoid production of aerosols by spraying or power washing, if possible. Use a mop, brush or squeegee instead.
  • Lockers used by patrons should be disinfected after each use. Consider providing wipes or disinfection solution spray and disposable towels for patrons to use for this purpose.
  • Increase frequency of cleaning and disinfection of high-touch areas, such as telephones, computers, door handles, handrails, chairs, tables and washrooms.
  • Clean and disinfect shared equipment (e.g., flutter boards, lifejackets, and clipboards) and launder any rental towels between each use.
  • Cleaning refers to the removal of dirt and organic material from surfaces. Cleaning alone does not kill or deactivate germs.
  • Disinfecting works by using chemicals to kill/deactivate germs on surfaces. This process does not work effectively if surfaces are not cleaned first.
  • Wear disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces.
  • Disinfectants should have a Drug Identification Number (DIN). A DIN is an 8-digit number given by Health Canada that confirms it is approved for use in Canada. Refer to Health Canada’s: Hard-surface disinfectants for use against coronavirus (COVID-19) Hard-surface disinfectants for use against coronavirus (COVID-19). Check the expiry dates of products you use, and always follow the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Use chlorine bleach solutions for disinfection if appropriate for the surface.
    • Prepare chlorine bleach solutions according to the instructions on the label or in a ratio of:
      • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) bleach per cup (250 mL) of water, or
      • 4 teaspoons (20 mL) bleach per litre (1000 mL) of water.
    • Ensure a minimum of two minutes contact time and allow to air dry.
    • Prepare fresh bleach solution daily.
  • Educate staff on how to use cleaning agents and disinfectants:
    • Required disinfectant contact times (i.e., amount of time that the product will need to remain wet on a surface to achieve disinfection).
    • Safety precautions and required personal protective equipment (PPE).
    • Directions for where and how to securely store cleaning and disinfectant supplies.
  • Clean and disinfect high traffic areas and frequently touched surfaces and objects such as door handles, light switches, counters, faucets, handrails, etc.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces every two to three hours, and when visibly dirty.
    • Ensure enough time is spent cleaning and disinfecting.
  • Ensure washrooms are always well stocked with liquid soap, paper towels and toilet paper and that warm running water is available. Antibacterial soap is not required to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Washrooms must be available for customers and staff use at all times.

Elimination controls

  • Consider keeping a sign-in/sign-out sheet at the front desk so staff can track the number of patrons in the facility at one time.
  • Consider collecting the names and contact information of patrons to support public health contact tracing efforts in the event that a patron tests positive or an outbreak is identified.
    • Providing information is voluntary for patrons. An organization must obtain an individual’s consent and notify them about the purpose and legal authority for the collection. Any personal information collected for COVID-19 contact tracing may only be used for this purpose, unless an individual provides their consent.
    • Information about attendees will only be requested by Yukon Communicable Disease Control (YCDC) if a potential exposure occurs onsite.
    • For businesses/workplaces, this also includes staff, workers and volunteers on shift. Where feasible to do so, and particularly for group events, it should also include patrons/customers/the general public.
    • Records should only be kept for two weeks. All reasonable security efforts must be taken to protect personal information.
  • Screen patrons to ensure they do not have COVID-19 symptoms.

Engineering controls

  • Consider installing shields (e.g. plexiglass) at front desks and in lobbies to protect administrative staff when interacting with patrons and collecting payments.
  • Wherever possible, install cashless payment methods at transaction counters.
  • Increase floor space by removing unnecessary furniture and/or decorative items.

Engineering controls

  • Consider limiting use of changing room lockers to maintain 2 metres between in-use lockers; disable or remove locks from the unused lockers.
  • Consider assigning lockers to assist in keeping track of when they have been used and require cleaning.
  • Use marker dots on the changing room benches to indicate 2 metre spacing for patrons to change.
  • Provide additional cleaning supplies (spray sanitizer and paper towels) so patrons can wipe down surfaces at their own discretion.
  • If applicable, provide guests with single-use personal items (e.g. soap, shampoo).

Engineering controls

  • Remove shared equipment from pool deck.
  • Limit the use of pool toys for flotation aids and lessons only.

  • Personal protective equipment (mask, face shield, gloves & goggles) appropriate for work being performed should be worn by employees (e.g. when handling pool chemicals, first aid, resuscitation)
  • The use of non-medical masks may help prevent the risk of transmission from the wearer but are not required at this time by the Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH).
  • Employees who choose to wear a non-medical mask must be aware of the following:
    • Masks can become contaminated on the outside when touched by hands so employees should avoid touching or adjusting them often.
    • Masks that become wet, soiled or damaged are less effective and must be replaced immediately.
    • Masks must be put on and taken off correctly, including not touching the front of the mask, and washing hands.
    • Cloth masks must be washed every day using the warmest water setting, and stored in a clean dry place to prevent contamination.
    • Never share masks with others.
  • Masks should not be worn in the water by swimmers, as they present a safety risk.
  • Masks may be worn by patrons on the deck or other areas of the facility.

 

Post signs to inform swimmers of:

  • capacity limits;
  • COVID-19 symptoms;
  • who is restricted from participating, including staff and patrons with COVID-19 symptoms, recent international travel, or recent close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • COVID-19 mitigation adopted by the facility, such as physical distancing expectations in locker rooms, pool deck and in the pools; and 
  • hygiene and respiratory etiquette (e.g. hand washing).

Download posters and signs. 

Pool operation

Pools should only be operated if adequate controls can be maintained. Facilities should designate one person responsible for the pool during all operational hours. Reliable and consistent oversight for new policies and procedures must be in place to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. If staffing or equipment necessary to achieve the control measures in your facility cannot be maintained, operators should consider closing the pool.

Proper operation, maintenance and disinfection of public pools and hot tubs with chlorine or bromine disinfection should inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19, however, it is important that proper precautions be taken both in and outside of the pool to protect yourself and others.

Employee training

Employees and lifeguards must be trained on all new COVID-19 policies and procedures:

Contact Environmental Health Services with questions about public pools and health protection at 867-667-8391 or environmental.health@gov.yk.ca. If staff have individual health concerns, call 811.

Effective July 1, 2020, public pools may reopen. All requirements of the Public Pool Regulations continue under the Public Health and Safety Act.

How to get approval to reopen

  1. Develop an operational plan related to COVID-19 using this template.
  2. Submit that operational plan to covid19info@gov.yk.ca for review and approval. 
  3. Arrange a pre-opening public pool inspection from Environmental Health Services (EHS)
    Email: environmental.health@gov.yk.ca
    Phone: 867-667-8391

The guidance provided is based on current recommendations for preventing transmission of COVID-19 in public pools and hot tubs and is subject to change as new data and recommendations become available.

Levels of protection

When selecting the appropriate operational protocols for your facility, it is helpful to understand the relative impacts each can have on controlling the risk of transmission in your workplace. Some controls will be more difficult to implement but provide a greater level of protection, while other controls will be easier to implement but provide less overall protection.

The control measures throughout this guidance are based on this model:

First level protection (Elimination)

Limit the number of people in your facility where possible by establishing occupancy limits, rescheduling work tasks, or other means. Rearrange workspaces to ensure that workers are at least 2 m (6 ft.) from co-workers, customers, and members of the public.

Second level protection (Engineering controls)

If you cannot always maintain physical distancing, install barriers such as plexiglass to separate people.

Third level protection (Administrative controls)

Establish rules and guidelines, such as cleaning protocols, telling workers to not share tools, or implementing one-way doors or walkways.

Fourth level protection (PPE)

If the first three levels of protection are not enough to control the risk, consider the use of non-medical masks. Be aware of the limitation of non-medical masks to protect the wearer from respiratory droplets. Ensure workers are using masks appropriately.

Elimination and engineering controls are designed to prevent people from being exposed to an infectious person or contaminated surface in the first place and should be considered first. Following this model leads to the implementation of safer systems, where the risk of illness exposure and/or transmission can be greatly reduced.

Employee health

Elimination controls

Employees who are sick with symptoms of COVID-19 must remain home and contact their health provider or phone 811 for medical information.

Administrative controls

  • Employees must use the self-assessment tool or other screening before coming into work.
  • Ensure all staff are knowledgeable with respect to how COVID-19 is transmitted (i.e., droplet and contact transmission).
  • Ensure hand washing stations or hand sanitizing products are available and accessible to all employees and users. Hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol content is highly recommended at entrances, exits, and throughout the facility.
  • If while at work, an employee starts experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness consistent with COVID-19, even if symptoms are mild, ask the employee to don a mask, to leave work immediately, to go straight home, and to contact their health provider or phone 811 for further guidance.
  • Ensure that objects and surfaces touched by sick employees who have gone home are cleaned and disinfected before being used by others.
  • Keep daily records of the employees who worked together and retain these records for at least 30 days.
Physical distancing

Elimination controls

  • Place signs near entrances informing patrons of the physical distancing methods being used in your facility. Place floor markers where lines form to ensure two metres (six feet) distance between patrons at all times.
  • Maintain a single point of entry into your facility. Entry, including lines and waiting areas, are to be regulated to prevent congestion. Physical spacing of two metres must be maintained.
  • Monitoring physical distancing must not be the responsibility of any on-duty lifeguard. A lifeguard’s primary responsibility is to watch over the bathers while they are in or around the facility and to supervise bather safety. Facility operators/owners must identify additional staffing requirements and hire staff to assist in monitoring physical distancing.
  • Reduce maximum bather loads to limit the number of patrons in the pool at one time and to ensure that 2 metre (6 feet) spacing between patrons is maintained at all times.
  • A 2 metre “bubble” of space should be maintained around each patron using the pool or hot tub, unless they are from the same party.
  • For large hot tubs, consider placing visual markers* around the hot tub edge at 2 metre increments.
  • Hot tubs with a diameter less than 2 metres must only be used by one person or family unit at a time.
  • Mark* 2 metre increments where crowds normally form (e.g. line-up at diving board/slides).
  • Consider using one-way markers* on deck spaces so people do not have to pass each other.
  • Areas where physical distancing is difficult or impossible should remain closed (e.g. saunas, steam rooms).
  • Consider closing spectator areas unless seating can be arranged to maintain a minimum of 2 metres between people.
  • If using pool deck furniture, place markers* on the deck at 2 metre increments to indicate chair positioning, ensuring none are placed within the four-foot perimeter of the pool.
  • Aquatic programs capable of consistently maintaining 2 metres of separation may be possible, at the discretion of the program manager.
  • Lane swimming may be allowed where a minimum 2 metre spacing can be consistently achieved among the lane occupants (or a maximum of 7 people per 25 m lane).
  • Provide 2 metre separation between participants in fitness classes such as water aerobics.
  • Swimming lessons which involve physical contact between the instructor and students (or between students) should be discouraged.

* Physical distancing visual markings on pool decks must not create a slipping hazard (e.g., no slippery tape) and must not obstruct safety signs such as depth marks or no diving.

Physical distancing exceptions

Physical distancing in a public pool facility is not applicable in the following circumstances:

  • When providing close supervision of children for whom one is responsible.
  • When assisting a person in distress.
  • When providing first aid or lifesaving measures.
  • When assisting persons with disabilities.

 

Personal hygiene

Elimination controls

Practice no contact greetings.

Engineering controls

  • Provide a supply of alcohol-based hand sanitizer at the entrance to the facility, pool enclosure and/or front check-in desk.
  • Washrooms and showers must have liquid soap, paper towels and warm running water at all times.

Administrative controls

  • Ensure staff are practicing proper hygiene. This includes frequent hand washing throughout their shift, coughing or sneezing into an elbow rather than a hand or the environment, and avoiding touching one’s face.
  • Encourage patrons to use hand sanitizer upon entry.
  • Educate employees about the virus so they know how to minimize its spread.
Enhanced environmental cleaning and disinfection

Engineering controls

  • Consider having separate cleaning supplies for different areas of the facility.
  • Provide multiple plastic lined waste containers to dispose of used tissues, wipes, gloves, and other cleaning materials.

Administrative controls

  • Continue routine pool maintenance.
  • Enhance cleaning and disinfection policies and procedures.
  • Record when cleaning and disinfection has occurred.
  • When cleaning bathrooms and changing rooms, avoid production of aerosols by spraying or power washing, if possible. Use a mop, brush or squeegee instead.
  • Lockers used by patrons should be disinfected after each use. Consider providing wipes or disinfection solution spray and disposable towels for patrons to use for this purpose.
  • Increase frequency of cleaning and disinfection of high-touch areas, such as telephones, computers, door handles, handrails, chairs, tables and washrooms.
  • Clean and disinfect shared equipment (e.g., flutter boards, lifejackets, and clipboards) and launder any rental towels between each use.
  • Cleaning refers to the removal of dirt and organic material from surfaces. Cleaning alone does not kill or deactivate germs.
  • Disinfecting works by using chemicals to kill/deactivate germs on surfaces. This process does not work effectively if surfaces are not cleaned first.
  • Wear disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces.
  • Disinfectants should have a Drug Identification Number (DIN). A DIN is an 8-digit number given by Health Canada that confirms it is approved for use in Canada. Refer to Health Canada’s: Hard-surface disinfectants for use against coronavirus (COVID-19) Hard-surface disinfectants for use against coronavirus (COVID-19). Check the expiry dates of products you use, and always follow the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Use chlorine bleach solutions for disinfection if appropriate for the surface.
    • Prepare chlorine bleach solutions according to the instructions on the label or in a ratio of:
      • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) bleach per cup (250 mL) of water, or
      • 4 teaspoons (20 mL) bleach per litre (1000 mL) of water.
    • Ensure a minimum of two minutes contact time and allow to air dry.
    • Prepare fresh bleach solution daily.
  • Educate staff on how to use cleaning agents and disinfectants:
    • Required disinfectant contact times (i.e., amount of time that the product will need to remain wet on a surface to achieve disinfection).
    • Safety precautions and required personal protective equipment (PPE).
    • Directions for where and how to securely store cleaning and disinfectant supplies.
  • Clean and disinfect high traffic areas and frequently touched surfaces and objects such as door handles, light switches, counters, faucets, handrails, etc.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces every two to three hours, and when visibly dirty.
    • Ensure enough time is spent cleaning and disinfecting.
  • Ensure washrooms are always well stocked with liquid soap, paper towels and toilet paper and that warm running water is available. Antibacterial soap is not required to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Washrooms must be available for customers and staff use at all times.
Point of entry

Elimination controls

  • Consider keeping a sign-in/sign-out sheet at the front desk so staff can track the number of patrons in the facility at one time.
  • Consider collecting the names and contact information of patrons to support public health contact tracing efforts in the event that a patron tests positive or an outbreak is identified.
    • Providing information is voluntary for patrons. An organization must obtain an individual’s consent and notify them about the purpose and legal authority for the collection. Any personal information collected for COVID-19 contact tracing may only be used for this purpose, unless an individual provides their consent.
    • Information about attendees will only be requested by Yukon Communicable Disease Control (YCDC) if a potential exposure occurs onsite.
    • For businesses/workplaces, this also includes staff, workers and volunteers on shift. Where feasible to do so, and particularly for group events, it should also include patrons/customers/the general public.
    • Records should only be kept for two weeks. All reasonable security efforts must be taken to protect personal information.
  • Screen patrons to ensure they do not have COVID-19 symptoms.

Engineering controls

  • Consider installing shields (e.g. plexiglass) at front desks and in lobbies to protect administrative staff when interacting with patrons and collecting payments.
  • Wherever possible, install cashless payment methods at transaction counters.
  • Increase floor space by removing unnecessary furniture and/or decorative items.
Lockers and chaining rooms

Engineering controls

  • Consider limiting use of changing room lockers to maintain 2 metres between in-use lockers; disable or remove locks from the unused lockers.
  • Consider assigning lockers to assist in keeping track of when they have been used and require cleaning.
  • Use marker dots on the changing room benches to indicate 2 metre spacing for patrons to change.
  • Provide additional cleaning supplies (spray sanitizer and paper towels) so patrons can wipe down surfaces at their own discretion.
  • If applicable, provide guests with single-use personal items (e.g. soap, shampoo).
Pool decks

Engineering controls

  • Remove shared equipment from pool deck.
  • Limit the use of pool toys for flotation aids and lessons only.
Masks and PPE
  • Personal protective equipment (mask, face shield, gloves & goggles) appropriate for work being performed should be worn by employees (e.g. when handling pool chemicals, first aid, resuscitation)
  • The use of non-medical masks may help prevent the risk of transmission from the wearer but are not required at this time by the Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH).
  • Employees who choose to wear a non-medical mask must be aware of the following:
    • Masks can become contaminated on the outside when touched by hands so employees should avoid touching or adjusting them often.
    • Masks that become wet, soiled or damaged are less effective and must be replaced immediately.
    • Masks must be put on and taken off correctly, including not touching the front of the mask, and washing hands.
    • Cloth masks must be washed every day using the warmest water setting, and stored in a clean dry place to prevent contamination.
    • Never share masks with others.
  • Masks should not be worn in the water by swimmers, as they present a safety risk.
  • Masks may be worn by patrons on the deck or other areas of the facility.

 

Signage

Post signs to inform swimmers of:

  • capacity limits;
  • COVID-19 symptoms;
  • who is restricted from participating, including staff and patrons with COVID-19 symptoms, recent international travel, or recent close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • COVID-19 mitigation adopted by the facility, such as physical distancing expectations in locker rooms, pool deck and in the pools; and 
  • hygiene and respiratory etiquette (e.g. hand washing).

Download posters and signs. 

Additional information

Pool operation

Pools should only be operated if adequate controls can be maintained. Facilities should designate one person responsible for the pool during all operational hours. Reliable and consistent oversight for new policies and procedures must be in place to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. If staffing or equipment necessary to achieve the control measures in your facility cannot be maintained, operators should consider closing the pool.

Proper operation, maintenance and disinfection of public pools and hot tubs with chlorine or bromine disinfection should inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19, however, it is important that proper precautions be taken both in and outside of the pool to protect yourself and others.

Employee training

Employees and lifeguards must be trained on all new COVID-19 policies and procedures:

Contact

Contact Environmental Health Services with questions about public pools and health protection at 867-667-8391 or environmental.health@gov.yk.ca. If staff have individual health concerns, call 811.