When Walt Disney World Resort hotels reopened, the pools opened along with the rooms. Many guests are questioning if it will be safe to enjoy the pools when they visit considering the inherent risk of Covid-19 when visiting any area with people. The hotels have opened with limited capacity and will continue to function as so until the resort itself progresses through the stages of phased reopening. When it comes to swimming pools and safety at Disney resorts, here is what we know. First, Covid-19 is a respiratory virus and it is unusual for respiratory viruses to transmit through water. Fortunately, there is no evidence that the virus that causes Covid-19 spreads through pools, hot tubs, spas or water play areas according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (1). The disinfectants used to clean swimming water, like chlorine and bromine, are effective in killing the virus that causes Covid-19 (2). However, it is important to remember that the virus does in fact spread from person to person via large respiratory droplets (3). Like most other places that have reopened on Walt Disney World Resort property, face masks are required to enjoy the pool area in order to prevent the spread of asymptomatic guests transmitting the virus to others. Masks are not required while swimming in the pools, and rightfully so as this would be a safety hazard. Rather masks are required when walking around the pool deck area, to visit the nearby bar or quick service, or to use the restroom.
Additionally, Cast Members have been trained in new enhanced safety protocols, which include but are not limited to, wiping down tables and chairs in the pool area often and regularly. Shared surfaces in the pool areas will be cleaned and sanitized using cleaning solutions recommended by the EPA and deemed effective in killing the virus that causes Covid-19. When a guest or travel party leaves a seating area near the pool, they have been asked to tip the chairs as to inform the next guest and Cast Members that the area has not yet been cleaned. This will continue as standard pool etiquette for, at least, the remaining time of phased reopening of resorts and pool areas.
The bigger risk for Covid-19 when visiting any populated area is the crowd of people, not the actual pool water. To help lower this risk, Disney Resort pools are limited in capacity through limited hotel occupancy, as well as through limited visitors in the pool area regulated by Cast Members. Feature pools may have different open/close hours while some leisure pools may stay open 24 hours or close early. Pool activities may be limited as well. Check at the Front Desk for updates daily. Guests are asked to comply with health and safety precautions, such as social/physical distancing between guests (at least 6 feet apart, both in an out of the pool), proper hand washing, and use of face masks, while enjoying the resort pools.
So long as pools are properly maintained and disinfected, which Disney has done a great job with both pre-pandemic and at present, swimming can be done safely with the current safety protocols in place. What’s the best way to keep from getting infected? Staying safe from COVID-19 is the same whether you’re at a pool, a park or a grocery store. Maintain at least a 6 feet distance from people outside your residence or travel party, always keep your hands washed, and avoid shared surfaces. These practices are your best defense when enjoying the resort pools and amenity areas. If you’re experiencing any symptoms of Covid-19, refrain from visiting the resort and pool areas, speak with your physician and isolate/quarantine immediately. Cast Members performing Wellness Screenings upon check-in will remind you of this, as will signage around the resort.
Will you be visiting a Walt Disney World Resort hotel this summer? Do you plan on visiting the pool? Keep this information in mind for swimming pools and safety at Disney resorts as you enjoy cooling off in the Florida sun!