*Please confirm that your facility may open under the State Order. Where there
is a difference between the local County Order and the State Order, the more restrictive order must be followed.
The State also has specific guidance for certain facilities that must be followed in addition to this mandatory
Issued: July 9, 2020
Information on the State’s Order and State guidance is available at covid19.ca.gov.
Outdoor swimming pools in Santa Clara County allow the public to engage in exercise and recreation in a manner that
carries a relatively lower risk of COVID-19 transmission, as long as everyone follows these important, mandatory
safety protocols. This Directive explains how outdoor shared swimming pools, hot tubs, and wading pools may
operate. This includes outdoor swimming pools, hot tubs, and wading pools that are part of, for example,
community centers, athletic clubs, multi-unit residential complexes, and membership organizations. Outdoor
pools in schools and pools used for children’s recreational activities are addressed in the Mandatory Directive on
Childcare, Summer Camps, and Children’s Recreational Programs. At this time, indoor shared swimming pools, hot tubs, and wading pools must
remain closed (except for pools that are part of a healthcare operation and personal household pools used
only by members of a single household).
This Directive is mandatory, and failure to follow it is a
violation of the Health Officer’s Order issued on July 2, 2020 (“Order”). You must comply with the
Order and all requirements of this Directive.
In addition, significant changes in pool operation or equipment require review by the Department of Environmental
Health. Contact the Department of Environmental Health for more information at: www.EHinfo.org
, or (408) 918-3400.
The Order Issued July 2
The Order imposes several restrictions on all businesses and activities to ensure that the County stays as safe as
possible, including but not limited to the following:
- The Social Distancing Protocol: All businesses must fill out and submit the newest version
of the Social Distancing Protocol to the County using the online form, available here. The Protocol is submitted
under penalty of perjury, meaning that everything written on the form must be truthful and accurate to the
best of the signer’s knowledge, and submitting false information is a crime. The Protocol must be
distributed to all workers, and it must be accessible to all officials who are enforcing the Order.
Businesses are responsible for ensuring that workers understand and are trained on Protocol requirements in
a language that they understand.
- Signage: All businesses must print (1) an updated COVID-19 PREPARED Sign and (2) a Social
Distancing Protocol Visitor Information Sheet, and both must be posted prominently at all facility
entrances. These are available for printing after submission of the Social Distancing Protocol online.
- Face Coverings: Everyone at a business facility or worksite must wear a face covering at
all times (except very young children, people for whom face coverings are medically inadvisable, or for
communication by or with people who are hearing impaired). For outdoor swimming pools,
face coverings are not required when a person is in the pool swimming, but face coverings must be
worn while on deck and in other areas of the facility.
- Density Limitation: Density limitations and other measures to reduce crowding and
maintain social distance at outdoor swimming pools are described below.
See the Order
and the FAQ page
for more details.
In addition to these general requirements applicable to all businesses under the Order, all outdoor shared swimming
pools and the people using them must comply with the following directives.
Rules for Swimmers
- Pre-register for a time slot to swim if your pool offers it. Because pools have to limit the number of
swimmers who can be in the pool at the same time, signing up ahead of time helps make sure the pool has
space for you and your family, and avoids a wasted trip.
- When you go to an outdoor pool, make sure you stay at least 6 feet away from other people (except
people in your own household) at all times, except for emergencies. This includes when
you are in the pool and when you are in other parts of the facility (like the restrooms, pool decks, and
- Wear a face covering at all times, except while you are swimming (except very young
children, people for whom face coverings are medically inadvisable, or for communication by or with people
who are hearing impaired).
- Bring your own towels from home. Drinking fountains at pools are required to be closed (except for
no-touch bottle filling stations), so bring your own water or reusable bottle to fill up. If you rent
any equipment from the pool (like a kickboard or pool noodle), don’t share it with anyone outside your
household. The pool operator must sanitize equipment between each use so it’s safe for the next person
or household to rent.
Rules for Pool Operators
- Designate a Staff Person to Monitor COVID-19 Safety
All shared outdoor pools except unstaffed residential pools (meaning pools in
residential complexes that do not have staffing at the pool area, even if they have staff onsite other
places in the complex, like at a lobby desk) must have at least one person, separate from the lifeguard, on
duty at all times to make sure that all the rules in this Directive are followed by pool staff and by
- Limit the Number of Swimmers in the Pool
Pool operators must limit the number of
swimmers in shared swimming areas of the pool to one swimmer (including staff members) per 300 square feet
of pool area (unless all swimmers in the shared space are from the same household). Calculate the
total square footage of shared pool space and divide by 300 to determine the maximum number of swimmers
allowed in that area.
- For example, if a swimming pool has 1500 square feet of shared pool space (i.e. pool space that is not
reserved for lap swimming), there may be a maximum of 5 swimmers in this shared pool space at any one
time (unless all swimmers are in the shared space are part of the same household, in which case there is
Make Sure Everyone Keeps at least 6-Foot Social Distance
- For small pools and lap swimming:
- Use of hot tubs and small pools with under 600 square feet of shared space must be limited to one
person or members of a single household in the tub/shared pool area at the same time.
- Lap swimming must be limited to one person or members of a single household in one lane at the same
- Pool operators must post signage informing swimmers of these requirements.
- Residential complexes with unstaffed pools must create a sign-up/reservation system to stagger use by
separate households living in the complex, ensure the pool density requirements are not exceeded, and
ensure that social distance is maintained onsite. Though not mandatory, staffed pools are
also encouraged to use a reservation system where swimmers can sign up to use the pool during designated
time slots. This will prevent bottlenecks and crowding while swimmers wait for pool space to open
Outdoor swimming pools
must ensure everyone (staff and guests) maintains at least 6 feet of social distancing from everyone outside
their household at all times. To help accomplish social distancing, outdoor pool operators must:
Increase Sanitization and Hand Hygiene For Staff and Swimmers
- Prohibit gathering outside the pool, such as on decks, except that members of a household may observe a
child or other person swimming to ensure safety and supervision.
- Remove or prohibit use of tables, chair, loungers, and other furniture that can encourage poolside
- Close showers, saunas, any indoor hot tub/pool areas, and locker rooms (note: locker rooms may be open
only to allow access to restrooms; lockers, benches, and other locker room amenities must be closed).
- Close drinking water fountains (except no-touch water refill stations) and vending machines.
- Post signage throughout the facility reminding swimmers to stay at least 6 feet away from everyone
outside their household at all times.
- Instruct staff to maintain at least 6 feet separation while working, both from one another and from
guests (except for emergencies), and if feasible equip the front desk area with plexiglass or other
Conduct a Pool Sanitation and Safety Reopening Check
- Pool operators must provide:
- Hand sanitizer (60% alcohol or higher) at each facility entrance and at other appropriate locations
for use by staff and pool users, including at locations with frequent interaction between staff and
the public (like check-in counters).
- Adequate soap and water, paper towels and hand sanitizer in all restrooms.
- Staff must wash their hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, including: after
using the restroom, after coughing/sneezing/smoking/eating, after cleaning or disinfecting equipment,
and before putting on gloves.
- Pool operators must regularly disinfect all high-touch surfaces areas and surfaces (such as doorknobs,
handles, rails, light switches, sanitizing stations, restrooms, sinks, toilets, benches, front desk
area, keyboards, computers, phones, and all shared equipment), following CDC guidelines.
- Rentals of pool equipment like kickboards and pool noodles is allowed, as long as the equipment is
thoroughly sanitized between each rental with a disinfectant that is effective at reducing the risk of
surface transmission of COVID-19. A list of effective disinfectants is available here. Pool equipment may not be shared
between members of different
- Though not mandatory, consider discontinuing towel service and encouraging swimmers to bring their own
towels from home.
Pool operators must
a pool sanitation and safety check prior to reopening to ensure pool chemistry is adequate for disinfection,
and to ensure the pool has been evaluated for safety, including that:
- Suction outlets are present and not loose, broken, or damaged.
- A Safety Vacuum Release System is present, if applicable, and in good working order.
- Pool lights are secure, flush to the wall, and devoid of any water within the light assembly.
- Spa Emergency Shut-off Switch is present and capable of turning off power to all spa pumps.
- Hot tub water temperature is 104 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
- All gates and doors are self-closing and self-latching.
- Pool enclosure (fence and gate/doors) is secure and there are no openings, holes or gaps that allow the
passage of a 4-inch diameter sphere.
For answers to frequently asked questions about this industry and other topics, please see the FAQ page
. Please note that this Directive may be
For up-to-date information on the Health Officer Order, visit the County Public Health
Department’s website at www.sccgov.org/coronavirus