ASAJ anticipates pool reopening
President of the Aquatic Sports Association of Jamaica (ASAJ), Martin Lyn, is hopeful that the Government will grant the association permission to reopen the National Aquatic Centre by next month.
Lyn, who lamented the financial implications of the pool’s closing, as well as its negative impact on athletes back in March when authorities ordered a lockdown of the country because to the coronavirus pandemic, told The Gleaner yesterday that the association has proposed new safety protocols to the Ministry of Health and Wellness and is now awaiting a response.
“We have sent the protocols that we have established based on international pools being reopened, and we have sent those (proposals) to the Ministry of Health and we await their input. We suspect that all should be in order, but the bureaucracy of getting things through at this time is a bit tardy,” Lyn stated.
Lyn, however, noted that Independence Park Limited (IPL), managers of the National Stadium complex, which houses the stadium pools, has agreed with the protocol.
“They (IPL) had their input and they have adjusted some things for us as well. So, essentially, we are waiting on the Ministry of Health to respond to us, which should happen this week and once that happens, it is going to take about three weeks to put the various things we have put forward in place,” Lyn shared.
He noted that some of the measures they intend to implement include putting proper signage in place, establishing serious social-distancing protocols, swimming in alternate lanes, proper sanitisation stations throughout the complex, and managing the changing rooms.
“These are things we are just awaiting the Ministry of Health to provide guidance and support on. Once that is put in place, then we have the possibility of opening the pool in late July, early August,” he added.
The pool is used by national teams, clubs, the association’s Learn to Swim programmes, physiotherapists, recreational swimmers, as well as water polo and artistic swimming personnel.
It is the association’s main revenue earner and although Lyn anticipates there will be some caution, especially from parents at the start, he thinks reopening the pool will be a major boost.
“The first thing we need is to reopen the pool. In the beginning, we expect that not a lot of people may come to the pool, but we understand that and it’s fine. Each person must take into consideration their personal feelings towards what we are doing.
“But, essentially, we want to get the pool back up and ready, so, gradually, we can get back to some semblance of normality. Timing will be very important, so we have put the things in place that we have proposed and if it is acceptable to the ministry, we will propose it to all the stakeholders and see where we go from there,” Lyn added.)