Some of the Illawarra's outdoor council-run swimming pools are back open, but would-be swimmers will need to plan well ahead if they want to take advantage of relaxed COVID-19 restrictions.
From Tuesday, swimmers in Wollongong will need to phone ahead to book in for a dip at the Continental Pool, as well as Dapto and Corrimal Heated Pools.
Under the NSW Public Health Order, the state government has stipulated there is to be no more than 10 swimmers permitted at one time, and no more than one swimmer in a lane.
To adhere to this, Wollongong council will take bookings where swimmers are able to reserve a 30-minute window.
The bookings will be made directly with individual pools, and all users will be required to meet physical distancing guidelines and be in good health before swimming.
If a family group, or a person and their carer makes a booking, each individual counts towards the pool total of 10 - even if they need to be in the same lane to support each other.
Toilet facilities will be open and change rooms will remain closed.
"I know people are keen to get back into the pools, and this step will allow that to happen,'' Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said.
"However, the risk related to coronavirus is still very real and we need to work together to follow the guidelines to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of all in our community, including council staff working at the pools.''
As the new process is rolled out, the council says it "monitor and review pool operations" to ensure they're meeting the guidelines.
In Shellharbour, Beverley Whitfield Ocean Pool reopened on Friday.
There are no bookings but swimmers are asked to swim only if there is a lane available and a maximum of 10 people can be at this outdoor facility at one time..
Entry to Oak Flats pool is limited to bookings only, with the same 10 person, one person per lane rules in place.
Swimmers may have one caregiver to accompany them and swimming activities will be carried out in one hour sessions with visitors having a maximum of 45 minutes to swim, dry and leave the premises.
The remaining 15 minutes will be used by staff to clean the area used.
How to book
Staff will be available at the Continental, Dapto and Corrimal pools to take bookings between the following times:
- Dapto and Corrimal pools: Weekdays from 6am-5pm. Weekends 7am-1pm.
- Continental Pool: Tuesday-Friday from 6am-5pm. Weekends from 6am-1pm.
Pool contact numbers:
- Corrimal Pool: 02 4284 9135 or 0437 500 191
- Continental Pool: 02 4229 1115 or 0439 087 455
- Dapto Pool: 02 4261 1963 or 0437 138 824
- Oak Flats Pool: 4256 1362