'Lifeguards' needed for swimming pool operators, instructors

Over 100 swim school owners and operators across Malaysia hope the government will consider allowing them to reopen for business, as reported by news website Twentytwo13 yesterday.

The group said the Malaysian swimming industry has lost 90 per cent of its revenue in the past 12 months as they have only been allowed to open for 148 days or less since March 18, 2020.

Joanne Ho, the director at Aquabubs Swim School, sent an email to the press on behalf of the swim school operators. The email had some stats to back the group's sad tale. 

Ho also said: “The learn-to-swim industry had been the 'forgotten' essential service, which could have dangerous consequences. If there's no opportunity for people to learn how to swim, the drowning statistics of fatal and non-fatal drownings is going to go up. 

A lot of children with disabilities need the water for their therapy, movement and mental health because they don't get a lot of options to do recreational activities or exercise and if they're not doing that, it’s detrimental to their wellbeing.”

Here are other views by the industry players:

“The swim industry in Malaysia has not had a report on on site transmissions. Chlorine has been

found to be effective to inactivate coronavirus to prevent it from spreading. Furthermore the large

volume of pool water will greatly dilute any virus particles expelled into the pool water”. - Lee Pu Min

of Optimum Train

“It is very upsetting to see that we are always the first industry to close and the last to open. Aquatic

activity is a lifeline to so many people for physical and mental health reasons and we will do anything

we can to fight for the reopening of pools.” - Yeap Eu Juan of Swimin12

“The CDC is not aware of any scientific reports of COVID-19 spreading through pool water provided

that the swimmers continue to observe the rules of social distancing.” - Raymond Ho of RNJ Swimming Academy

“Unlike gyms and other enrichment programs that can do online classes and still get some revenue,

it’s impossible to conduct swimming lessons online and we have had ZERO revenue for 6 months or

more. It is inevitable that more swim schools will be forced to close for good if we are not allowed to

open immediately”. - Dollah Said of Aquaputra

The group said if other service industries and sports can operate under strict SOPS, so too can swimming lessons and aquatic activities. Here are some suggestions provided:

1. Professional maintenance and frequent testing of swimming pool chlorine levels to ensure industry

standard levels required to eliminate viruses and bacteria in the water, which is a reading of 1.5 – 3.0

parts per million (ppm).

2. Ensuring that the number of people in the pool is kept at a minimum ( 1 person per sq/m) and the

number of people, including staff are kept to a minimum in the facility and ensure social distancing of

at least 1m on deck and public areas.

3. Most swimming and aquatic lessons and activities are conducted in outdoor pools and areas, however

for the facilities that are covered or indoors, proper ventilation is maintained at all times.

4. Frequent sanitation of surfaces in public areas such as waiting areas and toilet facilities.


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