MONROE, CT — Covid-19 may have put beach vacations on hold, but Wolfe Park remains open for residents to soak up summer sun and fun — poolside.
Ashlee Brocco, of Shelton, said she and her two children, Ellie and Lucca, have enjoyed days splashing around Wolf Park Pool since her son was in diapers. Brocco said her family got in a quick weekend getaway to Westbrook, but that was the extent of their summer swimming fun.
“We thought about putting a pool in the back yard, and we couldn’t get one because every one was sold out. We went to the beach a few times, but the sand kind of gets to you after a while,” Brocco said. “We were very happy the pool opened.”
On July 6, the Parks and Recreation Department opened the pool with new guidelines to help prevent the spread of covid-19. The pool now runs multiple three-hour sessions with a maximum occupancy of 70 people per session. Patrons register online for a cost of $5 per person. Pool memberships are not available this year.
The Parks and Recreation Department refunds reservations if they close the pool. If the pool closes within one hour of check-in, patrons can reschedule their time or accept a refund.
Friday through Monday offers three sessions from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., 1 to 4 p.m., and 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday hours are 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. In between each session, staff clean the pool for the next group.
“The guards have been doing a great job not only keeping people safe in the water, but helping with the cleaning on the outside of the water,” Director of Parks and Recreation Missy Orosz said. “The lifeguards are sanitizing and wiping down all the common touch-surfaces, pool ladders, the railings, the doorways.”
Only bathroom stalls are open in the locker rooms. Showers, changing stalls and lockers are closed, and patrons must arrive dressed to swim. On the pool deck, arrows mark where to walk. Maintenance staff clean the bathrooms, locker rooms and other areas outside of the pool on a different schedule.
“It’s been great. It’s not crowded, the spacing apart has been very good. The kids are really happy to see their friends and be able to swim,” said Liz Pippa, who has been to the pool with her kids five times this season. “It’s easy to get spots. I don’t ever feel like we’re closed out of the sessions. I think everything they have in place has been perfect. I feel very safe.”
Orosz said currently, pool staff are not conducting temperature or health screenings of patrons. Masks within the pool area are recommended but not required.
“We’re hoping people will be honest and not show up if they have symptoms,” she said.
Orosz said she is beyond thankful for the maintenance staff for cleaning and keeping
up the park.
“Without them, this park would be nothing,” she said. “I just hope we continue to where we can open up more and get back to normal, whatever the new normal is.”
Orosz said she is happy that throughout the pandemic, the park has been a place for people to safely exercise, see friends, and get outside.
“We never closed during this whole pandemic, which is something that I’m really proud of because other communities around us shut down their services,” Orosz said. “The park was open for walking, hiking, fishing, and slowly services are coming back. We just hope that everyone stays safe and follows all the guidelines.”