Township pool to remain closed this summer

Lifted state restrictions not enough to allow reopening

MATTHEW SHINKLE/The Sun: The Gloucester Township Municipal Pool did not open Monday, June 22, the date that an executive order by Gov. Phil Murphy stated that recreational pools could open by. According to township officials, strict restrictions made it difficult to open the pool as currently allowed.

Despite recent executive orders from Gov. Phil Murphy that allow for the reopening of various outdoor recreation and entertainment entities, Gloucester Township announced last week its municipal pool will not reopen this summer.

“It is with our deepest regret that we announce that Gloucester Township Municipal Pool will not be opening at this time,” said a social post by the Gloucester Township Recreation Center.

Recent executive orders raised the limit on outdoor and indoor gatherings to allow for some reopenings on June 22. Per the executive order, outdoor gathering areas — such as pools — are currently limited to 100 people, while individuals are required to be 6 feet apart.

According to Recreation Supervisor Diane Jones, the state elaborated on additional requirements for pools to open that the township could not meet.

“It’s not a decision we wanted to make at all,” she said. “But with a population of more than 70,000 people in Gloucester Township, where we usually have around 2,500 members in a season — and we were actually anticipating more members this year due to the circumstances — it just wouldn’t have been able to work for the pool to open as currently allowed.”

Jones said the township contemplated opening the pool with time-block scheduling to allow for greater circulation of guests and for more members to access it. But Jones added that most likely would have allowed for the pool to serve only half of its members, even in a best-case scenario.

Other requirements stemming from the executive orders, such as the need to hire for additional positions that deal more closely with tracking visits and other similar roles, required too many additional costs and didn’t allow enough time to open the pool by June 22.

Moving forward, Jones offered hope that the township would be able to open the pool later in the summer, but that state restrictions would have to change drastically.

“The restrictions would have to be much more relaxed than what they currently are,” Jones said. “It’s definitely our hope to be able to open the pool, and we’ll be watching the situation closely throughout the summer.”