Locals and tourists will have two hours to swim and play at all Wollongong council pools after the introduction of a new booking system.
The system, which will be in place throughout summer and into April, has been put in place to manage the influx of pool users amid the COVID pandemic.
Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said the system was designed so social distancing orders could be adhered to and would make it fairer and more equitable for all pool-goers across what is expected to be a very busy summer for the region.
"The point is to give everyone the opportunity to go for a swim," he said.
"Unfortunately, people can't laze around all day as it will be restricted to two-hour slots.
"The showers are not accessible under the public health orders.
"The system gives locals a better chance of getting access to the pools."
Cr Bradbery said the council would have to get the word out about booking in advance to people who travel into the city to use the pools.
"That will be a challenge because I can envisage people will turn up expecting to have access to our pools without a prior booking and then will be disappointed because they will be refused entry and will take it out on our staff," he said.
"Our staff are just doing their job and any aggressive behaviour will not be tolerated. And if necessary, we will call police."
Booking windows will be available across the day in two-hour blocks across the nine freshwater and saltwater pools.
Patrons will be required to leave the pool 15 minutes before the end of their booking to allow for cleaning to take place before the next session begins.
Bookings will become available for the upcoming week every Monday, with no booking fees for any reservation. People are asked to cancel their booking if they can not attend.
Pool fees will still be in place at Corrimal and Dapto heated pools, with all others remaining free.
Family and group reservations can be made as long as there are sufficient spaces available in the timeslot they want to visit and all group members enter the pool together.
Spectators who may only be supervising swimmers are welcome at the pools and are also required to book as they count towards a facility's total capacity.
Cr Bradbery said there would be no restrictions at Wollongong's 17 patrolled beaches or ocean pools and encouraged tourists and locals to visit one of the less popular ones as they would have more space.
"People should spread out and enjoy other parts of the city and coastline," he said. "If we manage this well, it means we will have safe access to our pools, and will enjoy ourselves this summer."
The preferred and easiest way to book a swim is to visit wollongong.nsw.gov.au/bookmyswim. You'll need to provide your contact details as required by NSW Health.
Alternatively, you can call our customer service team on 4227 7111 or any of our pools to get assistance with making or cancelling a booking.
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