Somerville Summer Updates: Pool, Splash Pad, and Playground Openings; New Summer Face Covering Guidelines; Heat Safety Tips
Pools, playgrounds, and splash pads will be opening in Somerville soon with new safety protocols in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The City is also putting summer face covering guidelines into effect. Effective immediately, face coverings are still required for people ages 2 and up at all times when in public both indoors and outdoors, with the exception that during the hot weather season masks may be removed temporarily when outdoors if a distance of at least six feet from others can be maintained. Medical and disability exceptions continue to apply. Finally, as part of the City’s Beat the Heat efforts, all are encouraged to review our heat safety tips and ideas for keeping cool.
Pools Open Between June 26 and July 1
The City operates two pools: the indoor Kennedy School pool at 5 Cherry St. and the outdoor Dilboy Pool at 324 Alewife Brook Parkway. Both are scheduled to open Wednesday, July 1. The state operates the Latta Pool at Foss Park at Broadway and McGrath, which will open Friday, June 26. All have new COVID safety guidelines and protocols, including:
- Outdoor pools are open to all.
- The indoor pool at the Kennedy School will be available to youth leagues and camps, and family swim will be available with restrictions. Only one parent/guardian allowed per household to adhere to the indoor limitations.
- Pool attendees must socially distance (remain at least 6 feet apart from persons who are not members of your household) on the pool deck, when in the water, and in restrooms. Locker rooms and changing areas will be closed.
- Except when in the pool itself, face coverings must be worn at all times by persons age 2 and older. Persons unable to wear a mask for medical or disability reasons are exempt. Face coverings cannot be worn in the pool itself for safety reasons, and swimmers should maintain social distancing in the water.
- Pools will have decreased occupancy.
- Pool hours will be staggered to allow for cleaning. New pool hours will be posted on somervillerec.com and, once they are set, will be available by calling 311.
- Swimming lessons will not be offered.
Summer Face Covering Guidelines In Effect
The short of it: Effective immediately, during the summer months, when you are outside and able to social distance at least six feet from others, you may temporarily remove your face covering but must put it back on when others are nearby. The City will review face covering guidelines again in September.
The specifics: The City’s summer face coverings order still requires face coverings in all public indoor spaces (including stores, restaurants when not eating, and common areas in multi-unit buildings) and all outdoor public spaces (including during physical activities), but face coverings may be temporarily removed when outside if you are able to be at least six feet away from others. If you are planning to take your mask off outside, make sure to still carry it with you, and immediately put it on if other people are approaching. When others are approaching at about 30 foot distance, which is about the length of a bus, start putting your mask back on to ensure everyone has time to get their faces covered before crossing paths. Also remember to avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth when putting on or removing a mask.
Please continue to put the safety of others first. In busy areas such as business districts or crowded parks, you may find it’s easiest and safest to keep your face covering on rather than pull it on and off repeatedly or be caught by surprise by a close passerby. Likewise, you may find the greatest opportunity to take advantage of the summer guidelines when on quieter side streets and in parks that are not crowded.
Please remember, children under the age of two should not wear a face covering, and persons who are not able to wear a face covering for medical or disability reasons are exempt from the requirement.
Playgrounds, Splash Pads, Basketball Hoops, and Rinks
Playgrounds will open and basketball hoops will be unblocked on Monday, June 29. Spray decks/splash pads will open Wednesday, July 1. No games or scrimmages are allowed on the basketball courts. We strongly recommend that you do not share balls, gear, or any other materials with anyone outside your household.
The Department of Public Works will adhere to CDC recommendations for cleaning the City’s 60 playgrounds, tot lots, athletic equipment facilities, and 20 water play features on a weekly rotation weather-permitting. This includes the cleaning of high touch plastic and metal surfaces with a “green” detergent or cleaner and water.
Water play areas will be opened with social distancing rules. In parks where the water play area attracts crowds that fail to observe social distancing measures, the feature may have to be turned off. To avoid the loss of these important and popular cooling and recreation features, we strongly advise all residents to learn the rules and adhere to them.
Basketball hoops will be unblocked. However, to prevent close contact that could spread the virus, no games or scrimmages are allowed. Similar to water play areas, if social distancing can’t be practiced, hoops may be reblocked. Again, the City urges all users to follow the guidelines so that the actions of some don’t cost access to these important recreational courts for all.
Ice Rinks are now open with additional safety protocols, but have limited capacity and are only open for organized youth leagues and youth programs.
Additional Tips on Staying Cool During COVID-19
Because of COVID-19, the City may not be able to open cooling centers this summer in the event of extreme heat. Many of the places people may go to cool off -- like libraries, movie theaters, and malls -- may remain closed as well. Here are some tips on staying safe in the heat:
- Drink plenty of water. Bring a water bottle with you when heading outside. Public water fountains are currently turned off to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat and lightweight, light-colored clothing.
- Never leave children or pets in a car unattended. This includes when running out for curbside pickup or other quick errands. Even a few minutes unattended in a hot car can be dangerous or deadly.
- Avoid strenuous activities, especially in the middle of the day when temperatures are the highest.
- Watch for symptoms of heat exhaustion (feeling dizzy, excessive sweating, cool and clammy skin, muscle cramps) and heat stroke (throbbing headache, not sweating, hot and dry skin, nausea or vomiting).
- If you are concerned about the cost of running a fan or air conditioner, check to see if you are eligible to receive a discounted electricity rate from Eversource to help lower your electricity bills.
For more tips on staying cool this summer visit www.somervillema.gov/KeepCool.