Outdoor pools across the Mountains opened on Monday September 27 - even for the unvaccinated.
Swimming pools were closed in June under the COVID-19 public health orders to curb the spread.
On September 19 Premier Gladys Berejiklian said councils would be able to reopen outdoor pools as long as there was a stringent COVID safety plan approved by NSW Health. The decision left council staff around the Mountains and Sydney scrambling to re-open and refill empty pools - like Glenbrook.
The NSW government has not yet made a decision on indoor pools. Glenbrook, Lawson and even Blackheath pools opened on Monday. Katoomba's outdoor pool is currently undergoing an extensive 12 months refurbishment. Blackheath pool does not usually open until November, but it also opened on Monday because of the long lockdown. Visitors must adhere to these protocols:.
- Signing in and out using the QR code.
- Mask wearing when not swimming.
- Washing your hands before and after you use any equipment or touch public surfaces. The safest thing to do is assume the person before you has the virus.
- Maintaining social distancing and high levels of personal hygiene.
- Not gathering in groups unless you are with people from your household, you are in a group of five (everyone in the group who is over 16 must be fully vaccinated. Children aged 12 or younger do not count). If you are unvaccinated and don't live in the same household, you can only gather in a group of two (you and one other person).
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said he is pleased that after all the hard work getting vaccinated and complying with lockdown requirements, some restrictions can be relaxed.
On the weekend when asked whether you needed to be vaccinated to attend the pool the Premier was confused and said "that was my understanding", but the issue has not been mandated. A Health spokesman clarified "vaccination ... is being encouraged strongly [for swimmers and staff]".
Mayor Mark Greenhill said: "By not mandating clearer and stronger rules between those who are vaccinated and those who are not, the state government puts greater pressure on our council because we are required to implement the directions of the government. We will do our absolute best to make people's experience at the pool as safe as possible."
The decision to open the pools followed a push by mayors in former "local government areas of concern" to give communities in the west a chance to enjoy the outdoors more, just as those in the beach suburbs could do.
The Mountains facilities shut on June 26 with memberships put on hold. During the closure all pools "have received maintenance and are in great shape," a Blue Mountains Council statement said.
Of the 787 locally acquired cases reported to 8pm last night:43 are from Nepean Blue Mountains local health district.
UPDATE: Blackheath's opening has been delayed until Wednesday due to an electrical fault.