Thu April 23, 2020
Batavia, IL- In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Batavia Park District will be keeping the Hall Quarry Beach closed for the 2020 swim season.
With the unique nature of the facility being a “Beach,” it takes at least four weeks of dedicated work to prepare the Quarry for public use: adding sand, water, chlorine; sending water samples to the state for testing; recruiting lifeguards; testing and hiring lifeguards; training lifeguards; certifying the lifeguards; onboarding of concessions and admissions staff; and purchasing the equipment and supplies, among other steps, all must be completed before even one patron can enter. “The combination of the unique nature of the Beach, the uncertainty of the length of the current stay-at-home order, the likely restrictions on group activity this summer even if the stay-at-home restrictions are eased, the lead time necessary for the proper training of lifeguards, and the lead time necessary to achieve the high maintenance standards led us to the disappointing conclusion that we cannot safely open the Quarry to the community this summer,” said Executive Director Allison Niemela. “Even setting aside the training, and maintenance issues, it is unclear how the Park District could open the Quarry and still comply with the strict limits on gatherings and other safety protocols issued by the Center for Disease Control and the Illinois Department of Public Health.”
Although recent CDC guidance notes that pools could begin to operate, it qualified that guidance by noting that pools would still need to comply with social distancing (i.e. people six feet or more apart), size limitations (e.g. keeping gatherings under 50 people), and cleaning/disinfecting guidelines. Staff considered the impact of these recommendations on a public beach versus a private lap pool for a home or smaller private business and do not believe it is feasible to reopen and follow the CDC guidance. “Doing so would turn our lifeguards and pool employees into ‘social distancing police’ where they are forced to watch not only the water for life threatening situations but must also turn their eyes from the water to patrons on the beach deck,” said Niemela.
Moreover, the Illinois Department of Public Health has made no indication about how it will begin conducting pool inspections and has informally stated that it has no plans to do so until more is known about the shelter in place extension.
Everyone who purchased a Hall Quarry Beach season pass will automatically receive a refund in the form of a check. Refunds will be issued by mail within the next ten days. “As disappointing as this news may be, it is the right decision for the health and safety of the general public as we cope with this unprecedented pandemic,” said Niemela.
For more information, or to view the COVID-19 updates, visit the website at bataviaparks.org.