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Worried about COVID-19 at the pool? Americans are split, survey finds

Swimmers most worry about crowds, want limited capacity at public pools

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Covid-19 Pool Worries?

With the weather getting warmer and vaccinations surging, public pools are starting to reopen and a growing number of Americans are making plans to take the plunge this summer. But a new survey finds that swimmers are divided on whether those pools will offer a refreshing respite from the pandemic.

The survey found that 70% of Americans plan to swim in a pool this summer, up from 52% last year. But more swimmers at the pool means greater concern about people spreading COVID-19. Overall, more than half of Americans (52%) worry about COVID-19 at public pools, and among that group, 82% are especially concerned about large crowds at the pool.

However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is no evidence that COVID-19 can spread to people through pool water. Proper operation and disinfection of pools, hot tubs, and water playgrounds should kill the virus that causes COVID-19

“It’s finally time to get back in the water, as long as we’re practicing socially safe behaviors,” said Rowdy Gaines, a three-time Olympic gold medalist and member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, who is working with the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance to educate swimmers about COVID-19 safety, as well as general health and hygiene information for summer pool visits.


So what should pool operators do to make swimmers feel comfortable this summer? According to the survey, most Americans (57%) want public pools to limit capacity above anything else. Interestingly, vaccination status appears to do little to ease swimmers’ concerns, with 59% of already-vaccinated Americans saying they would still require limited pool capacity to swim in a public pool.

“This summer, as more Americans make plans to swim in pools, it’s important for us to keep safety in mind by maintaining a social distance from others, even in the water and on the pool deck,” added Gaines.

Also, the CDC recommends setting a clear COVID protocol at each establishment, such as determining cleaning procedures, when employees should stay home, and what to do in case of exposure — and staying updated with the latest CDC guidance on operating public pools, hot tubs, water playgrounds during COVID-19.

Finally, pool operators should clearly communicate expectations to swimmers, including any face mask policies, if applicable.

“This summer, Americans are cautiously optimistic about the prospects of swimming safely in pools — at their backyard pool, a public pool, or while vacationing at a resort pool,” said Sabeena Hickman, President and CEO of the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance. “Together, by following proper safety protocols, we can all enjoy the 2021 swimming pool season.”

Learn more about healthy swimming this summer at HealthyPools.org.

Methodology: Sachs Media conducted the 2021 Healthy Pools survey on behalf of the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance, the world’s oldest and largest association representing swimming pool, spa, and hot tub manufacturers, manufacturers’ agents, builders, designers, distributors, suppliers, installers, retailers, and service technicians. The survey interviewed 2,000 American adults online April 9-10, 2021, with the intent to measure perceptions and behaviors related to swimming pools and public health. The survey had a margin of error of +/- 2.2% at the 95% confidence level, and results were nationally representative of American adults in terms of age, race, gender, region, and household income.

For more information, please contact Janay Rickwalder, PHTA’s Vice President of Marketing and Communications, at jrickwalder@phta.org or 703.357.3918.

Editor in Chief of Pool Magazine - Joe Trusty is also CEO of PoolMarketing.com, the leading digital agency for the pool industry. An internet entrepreneur, software developer, author, and marketing professional with a long history in the pool industry. Joe oversees the writing and creative staff at Pool Magazine. To contact Joe Trusty email info@poolmagazine.com or call (916) 467-9118 during normal business hours. For submissions, please send your message to submissions@poolmagazine.com

Press Releases

Step Into Swim Helps Over 6,000 Kids Learn To Swim

Step Into Swim Grants Help Over 6,000 Children Learn To Swim

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Step Into Swim Program Helps Over 6,000 Kids Learn To Swim

(Alexandria, Va.) – Step Into Swim, an initiative of the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA), has recently distributed $99,590 in grant funds to 22 facilities across the country, reaching 6,297 children.

Step Into Swim is the philanthropic arm of PHTA, dedicated to drowning prevention. Drowning is the number one cause of unintentional death in children ages 1-4. It has been proven that formal swim lessons reduce the risk of drowning by 90%, and Step Into Swim’s grants are being used specifically for this purpose.

In May, the PHTA Board of Directors committed to donating $500,000 to fund the Step Into Swim grants. This first round of grants has reached all across the country, from California, Arizona, and Nevada to Florida, Alabama, and Georgia, and many states in between. The grants were distributed to YMCAs, community centers, city parks and recreation departments, camps, and other facilities that are giving swimming lessons to youth in their community.

“I am at a loss of words on the incredible generosity of our PHTA Board of Directors’ recent gift of $500,000 to Step Into Swim,” says Olympian Rowdy Gaines, PHTA Vice President of Partnerships & Development. “With these funds, we will be able to make an immediate impact across the country to so many lesson providers, specifically those who reach out to all of our underserved communities with free or reduced-cost lessons.”

Step Into Swim will continue to distribute grants to more facilities throughout the summer, reaching thousands of children and giving them the life-saving skill of swimming.

To learn more about Step Into Swim, visit www.stepintoswim.org.

For more information, please contact Janay Rickwalder, PHTA’s Vice President of Marketing and Communications, at jrickwalder@phta.org or 703.357.3918.

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About the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance
The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA), a non-profit organization with nearly 3,500 members from around the world, was established in 1956 to support, promote, and protect the common interests of the $36.5B pool, hot tub and spa industry. PHTA provides education, advocacy, standards development, research, and market growth to increase our members’ professionalism, knowledge and profitability. Additionally, PHTA facilitates the expansion of swimming, water safety and related research and outreach activities aimed at introducing more people to swimming, making swimming environments safer and keeping pools open to serve communities. For more information, visit www.phta.org.

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Press Releases

PHTA Welcomes Comments on Revised Standard for Residential Pool & Spa Efficiency

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PHTA Welcomes Comments on Pool & Spa Effiency Regulations

(Alexandria, Va.) – The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA) is inviting public review and comments on the revision of theANSI/APSP/ICC-15 2011 American National Standard for Residential Swimming Pool and Spa Energy Efficiency, also known as the PHTA-15 standard. Public review is an important part of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards consensus development process. 

PHTA WELCOMES PUBLIC COMMENTS ON THE REVISED PHTA/ICC-15 STANDARD FOR RESIDENTIAL SWIMMING POOL AND SPA ENERGY EFFICIENCY

The PHTA-15 standard covers energy efficiency requirements for permanently installed residential aboveground/onground and inground swimming pools and inground spas operated by the property owner and used for bathing. It is intended to cover certain aspects of the swimming pool filtration and auxiliary system design; equipment, including pool and spa heaters; installation; and operational capabilities, for the purpose of minimizing energy consumption while maintaining water quality and temperature. The standard is intended to meet the new requirements of the Department of Energy’s Dedicated Purpose Pool Pump (DPPP) Rule, which applies to all pumps regardless of their use or purpose.

“Energy efficiency has become very important to the pool industry and to our nation,” explains Kenneth Gregory, PHTA-15 Standard Writing Committee (SWC) Chair and Compliance & Safety Manager of Pentair Water Quality Systems. “In recent years, the pool industry has led the way in saving consumers money by providing energy-saving products as required by the APSP-15 standard. This new revision, PHTA-15, takes energy saving to a new level. Consumers for years to come will enjoy major savings on the cost to operate their pool, spa, or hot tub.”

PHTA invites all pool and hot tub professionals, as well as non-industry members, to review the draft and submit comments for consideration. The ANSI public review announcement on the required 45-day public review period was published in the ANSI Standards Action on June 4, 2021. All public review comments on the revised PHTA-15 standard are due on Monday, July 19, 2021.

The PHTA-15 standard is a revision and redesignation of ANSI/APSP/ICC-15 2011 American National Standard for Residential Swimming Pool and Spa Energy Efficiency and is consolidated with Addenda A Approved by ANSI on January 9, 2013. Thefollowing individuals served on the PHTA-15 SWC:

Kenneth Gregory, Chair, Pentair Water Quality Systems (Washington, UT)

Dan Baldewicz, Energy Solutions (Oakland, CA)

Philip Escobedo, Fluidra (Carlsbad, CA)

John Garner, Sr., Pools by John Garner Inc. (Jacksonville, FL)

Paul Hackett, H2flow Controls Inc. (Sylvania, OH)

Ray Mirzaei, Waterway Plastics (Oxnard, CA)

John O’Hare, Hayward Pool Products (Clemmons, NC)

Shawn Strausbaugh, International Code Council (York, PA)

Gary Walt, Speck Pumps-Pool Products, Inc. (Jacksonville, FL)

To request an electronic copy of the draft standard revision for review and comment, please email standards@phta.org or call (703) 838-0083.

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About the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance
The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA), a non-profit organization with nearly 3,500 members from around the world, was established in 1956 to support, promote, and protect the common interests of the $36.5B pool, hot tub, and spa industry. PHTA provides education, advocacy, standards development, research, and market growth to increase our members’ professionalism, knowledge, and profitability. Additionally, PHTA facilitates the expansion of swimming, water safety, and related research and outreach activities aimed at introducing more people to swimming, making swimming environments safer, and keeping pools open to serve communities. For more information, visit www.phta.org.

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Press Releases

Top-rated Pinellas pool company partners with Olympus Pools

Pools By Jodran plans to take over administration, customer support

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Olympus Pools Partnership with Pools by Jordan

LUTZ, Fla. – A highly-rated Tampa Bay area pool company is jumping in to help Olympus Pools thanks to a new partnership between the two companies and their owners.

Specific terms of the partnership were not disclosed, but Jordan Hidalgo, a general contractor who founded Pools by Jordan, a high-end pool construction company based in Pinellas county, has partnered with Olympus Pools to help assist and help restore the company to its pre-Covid standing. 

“I saw what Olympus’s customers were going through on the news, but I also know the high quality of Olympus’s work and their capabilities. So, after weeks of negotiations, I’m happy to say we’ve reached an agreement, and we’re excited to get to work on sorting this all out,” said Hidalgo.

Hidalgo, who also runs a management consulting firm for pool companies called, The Pool Consultants, will have his team take over administration, accounting, permitting, purchasing and customer relations beginning Tuesday.

James Staten, who founded Olympus Pools will remain onboard and out front, running sales, field operations and business development.

“We’re each going to play to our strengths,” said Hidalgo. “There’s no denying a guy who built thousands of pools has got what it takes to make it in this business. Meanwhile, the vendors and some others in the media aren’t helping his attempts to right the ship. As a pool professional I can’t stand by and watch that happen without doing what I can for the clients and the builder. Every person should get what they expected and what they paid for, though it’s going to take some time.”

Olympus Pools, which was founded in 2010 by Staten, has generated more than $150 million in revenue over the last decade and completed more than 3,000 pools.

“What we experienced over the past year was a bit of a perfect storm, and frankly, we got behind and the timing of this agreement couldn’t have been better,” said Staten. “Between permitting issues, supply chain and material delays caused by COVID, and mistakes made while trying to scale too quickly, we found ourselves in a very challenging time; but I’m confident that Jordan and his team are going to add the extra horsepower Olympus needs to get things back on track.”

Customers can expect direct access to ownership, improved customer relations, and those who have been waiting for their pools to get started can expect work to begin sooner, thanks to the new partnership. Shared resources, equipment and subcontractors will rekindle the previously expeditious workflow. Additionally, subcontractors who were worried about getting paid can rest assured that Olympus is solvent and not going anywhere.

“Some things are going to happen immediately, and other things are going to take a little bit of time as we dig into things, but we’re ready to get all of these pools done as quickly as possible and work on rebuilding the positive image that Olympus worked so hard to achieve,” said Hidalgo. 

The news of the partnership comes amid a flurry of recent work activity. Since May 10, Olympus Pools has completed the following:

  • 26 Pools passed final inspections
  • 18 pools have had concrete work completed
  • 13 job sites have been cleaned up by cleaning crews
  • 12 pre-grades were completed
  • 11 pools had electrical work completed
  • 11 pools had brick and tile completed
  • 10 pools had plumbing work completed
  • 4 screen enclosures have been completed
  • 3 pools had plaster work completed
  • 2 retaining walls completed

“I’m looking forward to putting this chapter behind Olympus and showing what our talented teams are capable of accomplishing together,” said Hidalgo.

Olympus Pools
Public Relations Representative

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