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Columbia public pools to remain closed, splash pads stay open

City officials say they will reopen pools once they see improved coronavirus data from DHEC.

Memorial Day Weekend usually marks the opening for public pools – but not this year. Despite Governor Henry McMaster allowing pools to reopen on May 18, many are choosing to stay closed.

RELATED: South Carolina hair salons, barbershops, gyms to reopen May 18

Assistant city manager of Columbia, Henry Simons, says their decision to keep pools closed is based on research and experience.

He says their “focus is to make sure [they] can mitigate any exposure to young people.”

City officials are concerned with frequently touched areas in and around pools. “When our young people are exiting the water, there are a lot of high touch points. Whether it be restrooms, locker rooms, or person to person contact.”

Simons says Columbia will reopen public pools once they see improved coronavirus data from DHEC.

RELATED: What you need to know about coronavirus and swimming pools

RELATED: DHEC: 245 new virus cases, 3 new deaths in South Carolina

The good news is that kids can still cool off at local splash pads.

“Some of our splash pads we’re going to allow to remain open as long as they are non-circulating. Which means, that the water that is dispersed from the device does not circulate back through…it goes down the drain.”

All public splash pads in Columbia are non-circulating except for the one at the Charles R. Drew Center, which will stay closed for now.

Orangeburg and Irmo are keeping all public splash pads closed until further notice.

Pools may be closed, but there are plenty of other ways to enjoy the holiday weekend. People can enjoy green ways, parks and open spaces. On Monday, the city of Columbia is reopening tennis courts, dog parks, skate parks and athletic fields. As things reopen, remember to maintain social distancing guidelines.