Swimming Facility Guidelines

This document is intended to provide guidance for operating swimming facilities licensed by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), which include, but is not limited to, swimming pools, water parks, splashpads, bathing beaches, spas, and whirlpools.

Swimming facilities licensed by IDPH may be opened with the following limits according to mitigations outlined in the Restore Illinois plan. However, ancillary accommodations (e.g., saunas, hot tubs, spas, whirlpools, and steam rooms) should be closed at this time.  Facilities should also consider limiting ticket sales to patrons who reside in the same Emergency Medical Services (EMS) region as the facility’s location.  The composition of each EMS region and its tier status may be found at https://www.dph.illinois.gov/regionmetrics?regionID=9

Facility Phase 5 Bridge Phase 4 Tier 1 Tier 2 Tier 3
Indoors No capacity limit 100 bathers or 60% of facility capacity, with distanced groups 50 bathers or 50% of facility capacity, with distanced groups 50 bathers or 50% of facility capacity, with distanced groups 25 bathers or 25% of facility capacity, with distanced groups Pause operations
Outdoors Maximum groups of 100 bathers, multiple groups permissible with distances 25 bathers or 25% of facility capacity, with distanced groups

When features exist that cause patrons to congregate, including, but not limited to, water slides and lazy rivers, additional controls must be implemented to prevent the spread of disease. Written plans addressing such features shall be available for inspection by IDPH staff or any other duly authorized government agent. Such plans shall minimally include controls for maintaining social distancing of at least 6 feet between non-household members while patrons wait for and use the feature(s), including, but not limited to, using attendants to meter patrons queuing at features; utilizing markings, signage, and verbal advisories to maintain 6-foot social distancing before, during, and after using the feature; and providing sanitized (using listed and labeled products) rafts, tubes, or other “equipment” used by patrons.

Rafts, tubes, lounge chairs, or other shared “equipment” must be sanitized frequently with a solution of at least 50 parts per million of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved sanitizing agent. Guidance for appropriate cleaning of frequently touched surfaces and shared objects can be found at CDC Considerations for Public Pools, Hot Tubs, and Water Playgrounds.

Wave pools may be opened. Operators should have plans in place to facilitate and to manage physical distance of at least 6 feet between bathers from different households while using wave generation equipment.  Operators should limit group sizes to no more than the maximum capacity allowed according to mitigation level, allowing for social distancing where possible. For example, facilities in regions at Tier 2 should limit group sizes to no more than 25 people.  However, multiple groups may be permitted if facilities allow for social distancing of guests and employees, 30 feet of distancing is maintained between groups, and areas for each group are clearly marked to discourage interaction between groups.

Operators, employees, and customers should wear face coverings that completely cover their noses and mouths when not engaged in swimming activities (exceptions can be made for children younger than 2 years of age or people with medical conditions or disabilities that prevent them from safely wearing a face covering). Operators should encourage non-lifeguard employees and customers to refrain from shouting, singing, or chanting as much as possible.  Operators should display signage at entry with guidelines for face coverings, social distancing, and cleaning protocols. Operators, employees, and customers should frequently wash their hands or use hand sanitizer and, where applicable, adhere to social distancing. Operators should actively encourage sick employees and customers to stay home.  Operators should encourage employees and customers planning to enter the facility to self-screen prior to attendance and not to enter the facility if any of the following are present: (1) any symptoms of COVID-19, (2) fever equal to or higher than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, (3) under evaluation for COVID-19 (e.g., waiting for results of a test to confirm infection), or (4) diagnosed with COVID-19 and not yet cleared to discontinue isolation.  Operators may also consider conducting in-person screenings of employees and customers upon entry into the swimming facility, or mid-shift screening of employees, to verify the absence of COVID-19 symptoms. Operators should ensure personnel performing in-person screening activities are appropriately protected against exposure to potentially infectious employees and customers entering the facility. Hand sanitizers shall be provided on the deck and in the bather preparation facility.

If an employee does contract COVID-19, they should remain isolated at home for a minimum of 10 days after symptoms first appeared (for symptomatic person) or after specimen collection date of positive test (for asymptomatic person) AND with no fever (without fever-reducing medication) for at least 24 hours AND other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving. Whenever possible, operators should limit access to locker rooms and encourage customers to arrive to and leave from the facility dressed for swimming. All who enter a locker room should wear a face covering that completely covers their nose and mouth at all times. Operators should configure the space with signage, tape, and other markings to ensure all individuals can maintain at least 6-feet social distance at all times.

Showers and restrooms should be made available and should be cleaned and sanitized regularly. Operators should minimize face-to-face employee and customer interaction where possible. Operators should clean and sanitize lounge chairs, lounge areas, common areas, and frequently touched surfaces on a regular basis.

Swimming facilities licensed to serve food may do so consistent with Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity guidelines for indoor and outdoor dining according to mitigations outlined in the Restore Illinois plan.

Last Updated:  5/5/2021

Guidance Document: