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Advice for swimming pools and bathing facilities

Published Updated

Here you will find advice and guidance for public baths, swimming pools and bathing facilities. The advice given in the article is general and must be seen in connection with current regulations and recommendations from the Norwegian Directorate of Health.

Here you will find advice and guidance for public baths, swimming pools and bathing facilities. The advice given in the article is general and must be seen in connection with current regulations and recommendations from the Norwegian Directorate of Health.


National and local infection control measures

The Government has adopted stricter national measures that apply from 25 March 2021. The measures will apply for as long as they are needed, and shall be assessed by 12 April 2021.

Some of the new recommendations are:

  • Where possible, keep 2 metres away from others than those you live with, your boy/girlfriend or 1-2 regular contacts if you live alone. Children and young people can have 1-2 regular friends with whom they can have close contact. This will not apply to the health service, childcare centres and schools, or other services for vulnerable groups where this would hinder the normal operation of the services. For businesses where 1 metre is regulated in the COVID-19 regulations, the requirement of 1 metre distance will still apply, e.g., to shops and hairdressers. This also means that there will still be a distance of 1 metre in guidelines and industry standards.

  • We recommend a maximum of two visitors.

  • You should limit physical social contact as much as possible.

  • We recommend the use of face masks in all places where it is not possible to keep a distance of two metres. This is especially important in outbreak areas and in municipalities that expect many visitors at Easter. In the health service and schools and childcare centres, separate advice applies.

Municipalities can introduce stricter measures locally according to the infection situation. Check your municipality's website for information on local measures.

The basic infection control advice about staying home when you are sick, good hand hygiene and good coughing etiquette also apply to all the activities discussed in this article.

Organised swimming/school swimming

Organised swimming/school swimming should follow the general advice for swimming pools and bathing facilities found in this article. For organised swimming/school swimming, this advice also applies:

Infection control measures for swimming pools and bathing facilities

The Government has decided that swimming pools, water parks, spas, hotel pools etc., will be closed, but the following can remain open:

  • school swimming, organised swimming courses and organised swimming training for people under the age of 20 and swimming for professional elite athletes
  • rehabilitation and training offered individually or in small groups with an organiser
  • other individual treatment booked by appointment and where the pool is part of the treatment.

Swimming pools and bathing facilities are covered by the requirements specified in COVID-19 regulations § 15b.

In addition, the following recommendation apply:

  • Consider a plexiglass screen in front of reception 
  • Ensure that everyone can keep at least 1 metre distance everywhere (including entrances, changing rooms, showers, viewing stands, diving boards and other common areas, for example by floor marking or other measures).
  • Limit the number of visitors according to the area and capacity in changing rooms, toilets and showers.
  • Consider closing every second locker and every second shower if the distance between them is less than 1 metre. Clean common showers daily, as a minimum. Regular supervision may be necessary to assess the need for extra cleaning.
  • Throrough cleaning, especially contact points and surfaces (door handles, stair railings, toilet seats, taps, dispensers, benches, changing rooms, etc.). Contact surfaces that are frequently touched should be cleaned frequently depending on the number of people and frequency of contact.
  • Handheld hair dryers can be used if hands are washed before and after use
  • Soap and disposable paper towels should be available in all toilets and sanitary rooms.
  • Floats and swimming rings and other shared equipment should be washed or disinfected before and after use. 
  • Personal equipment should not be used or shared with others by others, such as a nose clip, bathing cap, etc.
  • There should be adequate monitoring in changing rooms and pool facilities to ensure the requirements for infection control measures are met.

Baby swimming

  • The same requirements for distance and hygiene apply as for other users of the facilities.
  • Wash changing tables with soap and water between each user.
  • Ensure sufficient distance between changing positions (minimum 1 metre).

Life-saving courses

  • Wash hands with soap and water before and after using equipment / rescue dolls.
  • Keep a distance of at least 1 metre between participants and between trainer and participant.
  • People who participate on courses that require physical proximity for brief periods that is necessary for certification or approval of professional practice are exempt from the distance requirements see COVID-19-regulations § 13c.

Saunas

  • Pre-heat the sauna before use.
  • Keep a minimum of 1 metre between each person.
  • Clean hands before and after the sauna visit.
  • Visitors should sit on their own towel.
  • Clean benches / surfaces / handles regularly with soap and water.

Hot tubs, whirlpool baths

  • Hot tubs may be used by one person or a household / family at the same time if the bath water is drained and the tub is cleaned between each use.
  • In a whirlpool bath, only one person at a time should be allowed, if it is not possible to achieve a minimum of 1 metre between users.
  • Hand disinfection should be available so that whirlpool and hot tub users can disinfect their hands before and after use.

Risk of transmission in swimming pools and bathing facilities

In accordance with current regulations, swimming facilities already have very strict cleaning and hygiene requirements to maintain normal operation. Similarly, there are strict requirements for water treatment, which gives little risk of contamination via pool water. However, it is challenging to prevent contact or droplet transmission by limiting social distance and enhanced cleaning in swimming facilities. The entrance areas, changing rooms and shower facilities are particularly exposed areas for transmission.

History

3/25/2021: Updated according to national recommendations.

03.02.2021: Updated text about stricter measures

25.01.2021: Added new, stricter measures in 25 municipalities in Eastern Norway

19.01.2021: Updated according to decisions made by the Government

08.01.2021: Clarification that temporary recommendations are implemented from January 4th to January 19th

07.01.2021: Added paragraph about stricter infection control measures

26.11.2020: New article. Contains advice for swimming pools and bathing facilities that previously existed in the article «Sports, swimming pools, gyms, spas, etc.». The section on therapy that includes the use of pools has been removed and a clarification has been made about advice / requirements for distance during life-saving courses.

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