CYPRESS, Texas – With changes coming every week about what opens and remains closed amid the coronavirus pandemic, local businesses are still preparing to open once they are able. With the summer just months away, pool businesses and summer activity organizers are looking for directions while preparing for whatever may come.
Heather Dominy has been watching news from local leaders and the governor very closely for any updates. When the pandemic spread in the Houston area, her pool service business, A-Beautiful-Pools, took a hit. Still, the business president had to continue to plan while making plans to ensure residents’ safety while at the pools.
“We’re thinking of spacing. We’re thinking of disinfectant. We’re thinking of life-saving skills for our lifeguards -- if they’re going to have to assist, how they would do that safely,” Dominy said. “We manage about 100 pools in the Houston area, so we continue to communicate with our lifeguards. We continue to hire. We do a lot of retreats online.”
Governor Greg Abbott has closed public pools at least for Phase 1 of the state’s re-opening plan laid out Monday. Heather Dominy has contacted Harris County and also the Texas Department of State Health Services to determine when her pools could re-open. Harris County told Dominy, her pools should still remain closed for now. Dominy expects to open her pools on May 18 for Phase II, but she says flexibility is key.
"We've thought of allowing our residents in the neighborhoods to book swim times to be able to adhere to capacity and social distancing. So whatever it is we have to do to open when we're allowed to, we're going to be ready to do," Dominy said.
The governor also closed summer camps through Phase 1.
Kids' Clubhouse in Cypress has a very anticipated summer camp.
"We're pretty much taking it one day at a time. We're following all the state rules," Kids' Clubhouse director Michelle Flash said.
Flash said this year, they had plans to do indoor skydiving and had all the paperwork ready, however, the summer camp’s plans are now pending and on hold.
"Horseback riding. We would do rock climbing. We have water park activities," Flash said.
The camp has been getting many questions from parents about the fluid situation and nebulous opening dates, Flash said.
“They want to know, 'What are we going to do next? What’s going to happen to summer camp? Are they going to have fun,” Flash said.
With summer camps nationwide serving 20 million children, the American Camp Association stated to KPRC 2:
“We expect to have more information to share by early-May regarding the future status of camp operations... Beyond this, we do not wish to speculate on the ever-evolving nature of COVID-19’s impact on the summer camp 2020 season.”
For now, waiting and preparing seems to be the name of the game.
“We are still (awaiting) confirmation from our regular vendors what we would frequent to see what we’re going to be able to do,” Flash said.
“The safety of our lifeguards and our residents -- they’re our top priority,” Dominy said.
The Greater Houston YMCA stated to KPRC 2:
“At this time, the YMCA of Greater Houston is awaiting guidelines from the state/Governor Abbott as well as any additional recommendations by the CDC in reference to camps and/or child care. In the meantime, the YMCA of Greater Houston is planning to serve as many children and families as possible, as soon as they are permitted to do so.”