“There's usually a lot of people here,” Marlene Hernandez said.
For years, the Washington Park pool has been one of mom Marlene Hernandez’s go-to’s for keeping her two sons cool during summer. It’s been open for two weeks now, allowing 25 people per hour but it’s not seeing anywhere near that.
“This set-up is way better, to be honest. I like it better but I know it’s not going to stay like that long,” Hernandez said.
“Throughout the city, we’re averaging about 20 people an hour at all three public pools,” Victor Cuevas, supervisor of recreation for the City of Waterbury said.
Cuevas says they have 7,800 members that have registered to use their pools in the past. Since the pools have reopened, even with the heat, there have only been 500 people who’ve come to cool off.
“What I’ve learned over the past two weeks we’ve been open since June 27, people are far more informed than we think they are and they’re certainly more cautious and some people may be afraid as well,” Cuevas said.
There are strict protocols in place at the pools, appointment sign-ups, temperature checks, mandatory masks in common areas and designated boxes on the patio for families to sit.
“Right before the hour, we start clearing everybody out for the next hour appointments to come and we start sanitizing the bathrooms and all the rails,” Cuevas said.
Cuevas says while the response to pools reopening has been lukewarm so far, he hopes to see more people use them in the weeks to come.
“I foresee us getting the 25 maximum every hour in a couple of weeks in the middle of July towards the end of July when we start getting those real heat waves,” Cuevas said.