LEXINGTON — As the City of Lexington plans to reopen the Family Aquatic Center, Optimist Recreation Complex and the Lexington Public Library, city officials are urging residents to exercise personal responsibility to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.

During the city council meeting on Tuesday, May 26, the discussion revolved around opening guidelines for the pool, Optimist Complex and library.

Lexington Family Aquatic Center

Referring to the pool, City Manager Joe Pepplitsch said they are planning to open the facility at 25 percent of its original capacity on Monday, June 1.

One of the first things people will see when visiting the pool are new warning signs which include,

The danger of exposure to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 exists

By entering the LFAC, you take responsibility for your own protection and for disinfecting your hands and anything you touch in the pool area.

Do not use the LFAC if you have a cough, fever or other symptoms of illness.

Maintain at least 6 feet between you and other people who are not a part of your household.

Wear a face covering when you are in the bathhouse and common spaces outside of the swimming pool.

Sanitization and social distancing procedures are in place, but you may enter at your own risk

According to Pepplitsch, the pool will be separated into five designated swimming zones and there will be a 15 person rule per zone in the top pool.

The first zone is the lap swim lanes 6-8 and the deep end of the top pool. The second zone is the southeast section of the top pool.

The third zone is the northeast section of the top pool. Zone four is the west half of the zero entry pool and zone five is the west half of the same pool. There will be a 25 person rule per each zone in the zero entry pool.

The guidelines state patrons will remain in the respective swim zones they are assigned to or sign up for during the entire swim session. No zone switching will be permitted.

Equipment which will be closed until further notice includes diving boards, water slides, kid’s water equipment and slide and the splash pad.

Programs on hold include private swim lessons, Red Cross swim lessons and any swim teams.

Call in reservations for entry into the pool is recommended, but walk-ins will be allowed to entry the facility so long as the maximum person capacity isn’t exceeded and all entry requirements are met.

Prior to entry into the aquatic center, patrons will be required to sign the COVID-19 Public Facility User Agreement, which states individuals assume the risk of the virus and will not hold the city responsible if they should contract it.

This must be signed by any individual 18-years or older and a parent or legal guardian must sign for anyone under the age of 17. The form only needs to be signed once to enter the facility again.

Another requirement to enter the facility is for patrons to undergo touchless temperature checks. Staff will keep a daily log of all patrons who visit the facility including their first and last name, phone number and their temperature upon entry.

Staff inside the bathhouse will be required to wear a mask at all times and those handling money or punch cards will wear gloves, according to the guidelines.

In case first aid must be performed, regular protocols will be followed for blood borne pathogens. The Centers for Disease Control, CDC, does waive all social distancing requirements in case of an emergency.

According to the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council, “The risk of disease transmission is extremely low while performing CPR, especially when using a breathing barrier.”

According to the CDC, “There is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can spread directly to humans from water in pools, hot tubs or spas, or water play areas. Proper operation, maintenance, and disinfection (for example, with chlorine or bromine) of pools, hot tubs or spas, and water playgrounds should kill the virus that causes COVID-19.”

Pepplitsch said the requirements are stringent, but the city wants to err on the side of caution as they begin to open public facilities.

There will be one designated entry point and families or individuals will be required to wait for an appointed entry time. Entry will be staggered to one person or one family or party group at a time. The pool staff will notify patrons on when they can enter.

Six feet social distancing will be required at all times in the bathhouse, around gathering areas and the pool area itself. This will be monitored by staff.

When patrons use the pool, they will be allowed a 75 minute time slot in which they can use the facilities. Facial masks will not be required while patrons are in the water.

The pool’s hours of operations will also be changed to allow for sanitization of the facility. They are as follows,

Monday-Thursday

9:30 – 10:45 a.m. (Lap Swim Only)

10:45 a.m. – 12 p.m. Closed for Cleaning

12 – 2: p.m. (Swim)

2 – 2:30 p.m. Closed for Cleaning

2:30 – 4:30 p.m. (Swim)

4:30 – 5 p.m. Closed for Cleaning

5 – 7 p.m. (Swim)

Friday

12 – 2:00 p.m. (Swim)

2 – 2:30 p.m. Closed for Cleaning

2:30 – 4:30 p.m. (Swim)

Saturday-Sunday

1 – 3 p.m. (Swim)

3 – 3:30 p.m. Closed for Cleaning

3:30 – 5:30 pm (Swim)

During the cleaning times, staff will spray down and sanitize countertops, ladders, benches, chairs, door handles, all locker room areas. Bathroom floors will be cleaned by chlorinate twice daily. Staff will also ensure no standing water on any concrete surface.

Admission Fees and Season Pool Pass costs are as follows,

Day Pass

0-15 years old – $2.25

16-54 years old – $3.25

55+ years old - $2.25

Punch Card

10 punches - $25

Season Pass

Individual - $50

Family Pass - $110

The guidelines are subject to change as new guidance is received and the pool will immediately shut down upon any directed health measures which require the city to do so, Pepplitsch said.

The guidelines for the pool are a test and there will likely be changes, said Pepplitsch, but this gives the city a path to opening the facility, hopefully with loosened restrictions as time goes on.

Optimist Recreation Complex

The council then moved on to the guidelines for the Optimist Recreation Complex.

The City of Lexington anticipates opening the Optimist Complex for organized youth baseball and softball leagues and programs based on the guidance set for by Governor Pete Ricketts.

Anyone wishing to use the complex’s facilities must sign the same agreement as those using the pool.

Teams will be allowed to begin practicing on June 1 by adhering to the following guidelines,

Dugout use will not be allowed

Players’ items should be lined up against the fence at least six (6) feet apart

Parents must remain in their cars during practice and during drop-off and pick-up

Players should use their own gloves, helmets, and bats as much as possible

Coaches/Program Directors must sanitize any shared equipment before and after each practice

Catcher gear should not be shared between players unless it has been fully sanitized after each use

Coaches/Program Directors are responsible for ensuring social distancing is maintained between players

Coaches shall also maintain additional spacing between players while playing catch, changing drills and absolutely no congregating of players while waiting to bat

Players must bring their own water/beverage to consume before, during, and after practice

No shared drinking fountains or coolers

Players must bring their own snacks to consume before, during, and after practice

No shared/communal snacks

Only one team at a time shall practice on a field

Teams will be allowed to begin holding games starting on Thursday, June 18 by following these guidelines,

Same guidelines apply as above for baseball and softball practices

Use of dugouts is prohibited for players during games; dugouts will be reserved only for coaches six feet apart

Players should have designated spots (i.e. bleachers or along the fence) to place their personal items six feet apart

Coaches/Program Directors must designate an adult who is responsible for ensuring players are seated in their chairs unless they are actively participating in the game

Players should use their own gloves, helmets, and bats as much as possible

Youth Sports Fans: Fan attendance is limited to household members of the players on the team (household members must live in the house with them)

Adult Sports Fans: Fan attendance is limited to household members of the players on the team (household members must live in the house with them); children under the age of 16 years old must be accompanied by a non-participating adult to enforce social distancing guidelines If possible, fan attendance is discouraged for adult sports

No use of bleachers for fans

Fans must bring their own chairs or stand

Fans shall keep six feet of social distancing between different household units

No fan seated/standing is allowed from dugout to dugout and within six feet of any player; fans may have designated seating past the dugout area and in the outfield behind the fence

Teams playing the next game must be provided designated areas for player warm-ups that are conducive to social distancing guidelines

Post-game handshakes or interaction between teams is prohibited

At the conclusion of each game, each team must sanitize their respective areas where there are high touch surfaces (i.e. dugouts, bleachers, etc.)

No post-game talks at the field are permitted

Fans and players must leave the playing area and return to their cars immediately after the game

The team to play next must remain in their designated warm up area until the prior team has finished sanitizing and has completely left the field and surrounding areas

Fans for upcoming games must remain in their cars during player warmups. They will be permitted to come to the field once each team is set for the first pitch of the game

Restrooms will be cleaned and sanitized regularly while players and fans are present

Markings should be placed on the ground to ensure individuals waiting to use the restroom are spaced six feet apart; masks must be worn inside restrooms

Players must bring their own water/beverage to consume before, during, and after practices and games

No shared drinking fountains or coolers

Players must bring their own snacks to consume before, during, and after practice and games

No shared/communal snacks

Coaches must sanitize shared equipment before and after each practice and game

Concessions stands are not allowed to be open

A maximum of two fields will be utilized at each scheduled time to avoid large groups

No tournaments will be held at this time

All rules and regulations will be enforced by staff or volunteers of each organization using the facilities and the City of Lexington staff will supervise the facility to ensure the regulations are being followed, according to the city guidelines.

Coaches, participants and fans found to be in violation of the regulations listed will be first given a verbal warning, a written warning second and a third violation will mean the individual or program will be prohibited from using the complex’s facilities.

Pepplitsch said the city will be asking coaches and program managers for an outline on how they intend to abide by the guidelines while using the facility.

Community Activity Director Ann Luther said the city will need to meet with people who intend to use the facilities, so they follow the guidelines and will enforce them as well.

Lexington Public Library

The guidance for a reopening of the Lexington Public Library comes from the Nebraska Library Commission, Pepplitsch said. The commission laid out a five phase process to fully reopen libraries around the state. Lexington is currently in the second phase.

The second phase is when the building is closed to the public but staff is in the building preparing for reopening. The second phase guidance is as follows,

Returning Materials

Announce that the library is accepting the return of materials.

From May 26 forward the book drop will be open 24 hours a day. All returned items will be quarantined for 72 hours prior to check in.

Staff will change boxes and empty the book drop as needed, wearing gloves and nonmedical masks. Books are sealed in bags for the 72-hour quarantine. Each bag is labeled with the date and time.

After the 72-hour quarantine, the books are taken out the bag, checked in and shelved.

Carts are all sanitized.

Curbside Pickup of Materials

• Patrons can pick-up items that they have either requested or have on hold using curbside pick-up.

• Staff will call patrons to let them know that the materials they placed on hold are available.

• Patrons, who do not know which specific materials they want, can have a reader’s advisory phone call with staff. Staff can then select materials for them.

• Patrons call the library, when they are on the way to pick up their items, and library staff will put their sack of materials on the book cart by the back door.

Services Available

• Printing from an email account is available by forwarding the email to the Lexington Library account, Lexingtonlibrary68850@gmail.com. The document can then be printed from the library’s email. The document is handled in the same manner as curbside delivery.

• Interlibrary Loan (ILL) will be reinstated following Memorial Day.

Building Transitions

• Upholstered and wood furniture will be removed from the library. Tables from the Benthack Room will be moved to the main section of the library. There will be one chair provided per table and tables will be spaced at least six feet apart.

• Toys and manipulatives will not be available to the public.

Phase three will allow for limited walk-in service of the library, the guidance for this phase is as follows,

• The library will have adequate PPE for staff.

• Library opens but with reduced hours (9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday) to decrease staff interaction with the public and to provide that shelving activity does not occur when patrons are actively moving throughout the library.

• Appointments can be scheduled.

• Curbside service will still be offered.

• Bundle Bags will be available for adults. Several books that have either the same author or the same theme, will be grouped together for either a grab and go pick-up or curbside service.

• Library visits should be limited to one person per household.

• Library visits should be limited to one 30-minute visit per day.

• Hand sanitizer will be available for all patrons entering the library.

• The library is open to individuals who are 14 years of age and older.

• Appointments for one adult and one child can be made for access to the Youth Services area.

• Bundle Bags will be available for children. For children up to 10 picture books with one theme (such as dinosaurs or Berenstain Bears) will be grouped together in a bag. These bags will be available for a quick checkout.

• New children’s materials will be on a display.

• The young adult area is accessible to staff only. The new Young Adult materials will be available on a display. Staff will access any Young Adult material requested.

• The Study Rooms are not available for public use.

• Specific hours (8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday and Thursday) are designated for the elderly and those who have a health risk.

• Specific hours (8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. on Monday and Wednesday) are designated for mothers or fathers with preschool or elementary age children, who want to checkout children’s materials.

• Grocery store model social distancing provisions, such as directional aisles and a one person per aisle limit will be provided.

• Chairs and tables will be sterilized on a regular basis.

• Staff will wipe down the circulation desk with a sanitizer throughout the day.

• Staff will sanitize the staff phones, computers, mice, and shared office supplies.

• Lines marking correct social distancing will be provided at the circulation desk. Staff will monitor and enforce social distancing for people moving around the library.

• Plexiglass shields will be provided at the circulation desk.

• One to two staff will be assigned to the circulation desk on a rotating basis.

Computer Services

• Computer lab is closed.

• Computers will be placed in-service / out-of-service so that there is at least a six-foot gap in between users.

• Patrons, who need to use a computer for personal or commercial business, will be given preference.

• Each computer, keyboard, mouse, and the surrounding table surfaces will be sanitized after each use.

• Computer usage is limited to one half hour a day session. If no one is waiting to use a computer and the number of patrons in the library is less than 10, this time may be extended to one hour upon request. If desired, an appointment for computer usage can be made by calling the library.

• Staff will not be able to offer computer one-on-one help. Staff also will not be able to offer help with cell phone questions or printing.

• No library group programming will be offered in person. No meetings will be scheduled in the library’s meeting rooms

Phase four will be a gradual transition to normal walk-in services with curbside service continuing and all technology will be fully accessible. Social distancing requirements will slowly be relaxed. Phase five is a return to normal service, with normal hours and full staffing returning.

The city council voted to adopt all three programs for the pool, Optimist Complex and the library.

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