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City of Newcastle brings forward end-of-season swimming pool closures
Announcing that it is working in collaboration with “government partners including NSW Health” to prepare for a potential spread of Coronavirus, the City of Newcastle is to bring forward the end-of-season closures of its swimming centres to Monday 23rd March.
The Council has taken the action despite consensus that with Coronavirus (COVID-19) being an airborne virus which cannot spread through water, using aquatic facilities should not be a concern.
Last week, a spokesperson for the Queensland Department of Health explained that “COVID-19 is very unlikely to be transmitted through swimming pool water where adequate chlorine levels are maintained.”
Advising the city-operated Beresfield Swimming Centre, along with Lambton, Mayfield, Stockton and Wallsend Swimming Centres, operated by BlueFit Aquatics, will be prematurely closed, City of Newcastle interim Director City Wide Services, Alissa Jones stated “in collaboration with BlueFit we have brought forward the final day of the season to 23 March 2020 as part of our commitment to the health and wellbeing of staff and the community.
“This means that all swimming centres in Newcastle will be closed from Monday 23 March 2020.”
Jones added that the “City of Newcastle will continue to provide lifeguard services at our beaches and ocean baths. Information on patrol hours can be found on our website.
“The City’s key objectives are to provide timely information about any changes to services or the operation of our facilities and to support the State and Federal Governments to manage the impact of the pandemic.
“City of Newcastle will adjust operations to further protect public health and the health of our staff and volunteers.
“City of Newcastle is working with staff affected by the early closure of the Beresfield Swimming Centre to minimise the adverse impact on them.”
BlueFit Chief Executive Todd McHardy said the company has considered a number of strategic approaches to ensure the best outcomes for both community and staff.
McHardy stated “the responsible solution across the Newcastle region is to bring forward the winter closure for all facilities to commence on Monday 23 March 2020, the final day of trade being Sunday 22 March 2020.
“Safety is our number one priority and with ongoing government-imposed reductions in mass gathering numbers and further recommendations on social distancing, we believe closing the Newcastle swimming venues will limit the transmission of the virus in our community.
“We recognise the financial impact this has on our staff and the broader community, therefore, BlueFit has developed a safety net strategy to support our team and customers in times of hardship in an effort to reduce the impact across our network.
“All learn to swim program participants will be notified through separate correspondence of relevant closures and program disruption. We are committed to supporting both the community and our staff through this period and we are grateful for the strong partnership we have with the City of Newcastle to assist us through these tough decisions.
“We feel the impact on the community will be minimal given we are entering the end of the summer season and with the magnificent beaches and ocean baths available in Newcastle, and prioritises the health and wellbeing of staff and the broader community.”
Further information about the City’s response is available at Newcastle.nsw.gov.au/covid-19
Images: The City of Newcastle's Beresfield Swimming Centre (top) and the Lambton Swimming Centre (below).
18th March 2020 - Fitness Australia’s Barrie Elvish says ‘gyms do not need to close’
17th March 2020 - City of Ballarat closes aquatic and cultural buildings
8th March 2020 - Aquatic facilities react to Coronavirus fears
24th February 2020 - Newcastle Council determined to see ocean baths restored
31st January 2020 - Coronavirus declared global health emergency by World Health Organization
24th December 2019 - BlueFit announce partnership to operate private indoor pool in Melbourne’s west
6th September 2018 - BlueFit takes on management of Gladstone Aquatic Centre
4th May 2015 - Outdoor seasonal pools under ongoing threats
11th December 2013 - ‘People power’ keeps Newcastle pools open
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