City / In brief

Berkeley’s public swimming pools may reopen as soon as Sept. 14

Swimmers in Berkeley and Alameda County were ecstatic last week when new health orders allowed the opening of outdoor swimming pools on Aug 28. Contra Costa County had been letting people swim outdoors for months, and now local residents could look forward to working out and splashing in water closer to home.

Berkeley’s two pools, at King Middle School on Hopkins Street and West Campus on Browning Street, have remained closed, however, leading one Berkeleyside reader to write to us and ask why. He signed his email “a frustrated swimmer.”

The city is working on reopening the two pools as soon as possible, but the earliest date the public will be let in is Sept. 14, according to Matthai Chakko, a city spokesperson. The reopening may even happen later than that.

Berkeley can’t just snap its fingers and reopen a public facility, he said. Many factors need to come together, including cleaning a facility, figuring out hours of usage, the amount of time people can swim and ensuring that swimmers stay safe and socially distance themselves. In addition, the city must assemble a staff and recertify all the lifeguards, according to Echa Schneider, the manager of the city’s EOC joint information center. (The city is advertising for aquatics positions.)