THE Portland Leisure and Aquatic Centre is opening for lap swimmers from Monday, after an easing of restrictions has given many organisations the go ahead.
The indoor pool will be open for 18 swimmers at a time, in one-hour time slots, while the 50m outdoor pool (20-swimmer capacity) is also opening during winter in an unprecedented move to give locals more swimming opportunities.
Both pools will be open from 6am-10am, and the indoor pool will also open in the afternoon from 3-8.
However, those intending to use the pools must pre-book their time in advance.
Portland Leisure and Aquatic Centre manager Kerri Jennings is excited to be re-opening to the public under some strict guidelines.
“We’re really excited to have people back in the pool,” she said.
“There are some rules in place that we’ve had to plan out so that we’re following all of the guidelines.
“People need to book in advance; for example, they can call up and book for five days in a row for the time slot of 7am-8am. They turn up and hop in the pool and they have 45 minutes in and then 15 minutes to leave before the next time slot arrives.
“The pool is only open for lap swimmers so we can’t have families coming in for recreational play.
“We’ve got the outdoor 50m pool open as well, council has decided to open it during winter which is novel because usually it’s closed.
“We can heat it so it will be really good to have swimmers out there and to see the steam coming off it.”
While the centre is re-opened for lap swimming there are still facilities that remain closed to adhere to the guidelines, including the showers and water fountains.
“There is no access to the changerooms, so people need to come dressed ready to swim and then leave without changing,” Ms Jennings said.
“The toilets will be open but there will be no access to the water fountains.
“People will need to bring their own equipment as well; if they want a kickboard or a noodle, they have to bring one.
“We’re also not doing cash transactions so people will need to bring a card for payment.”
It has been a long-awaited return for many members of the community with the centre a key place of exercise and socialising.
“I could give you a list a mile long of people who are missing it so much,” Ms Jennings said.
“For some people it’s a place for them to come with their friends and have a coffee and keep moving.
“It’s really good just to be able to do stuff again.”
Memberships will continue to be suspended until the Portland Leisure and Aquatic Centre can re-open fully. There are passes available for swimming.