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New Mexico Environment Department conducts inspections of public pools

Farmington’s Bisti Bay to open May 28
Bisti Bay water park at Brookside Park in Farmington. The park will open May 28.

FARMINGTON – Summer is coming and the New Mexico Environment Department is conducting the annual inspection of public pools, including those in Farmington, specifically the long anticipated opening of Bisti Bay.

The state is responsible for 1,200 pools. The NMED inspects those pools to help prevent infection, injuries and accidental deaths.

Under the state’s Red, Yellow, Green and Turquoise color-level system, public pools are allowed to reopen with a capacity set by the county’s corresponding color level.

San Juan County is currently in the Yellow Level, which means pools used for recreation can operate at 33% capacity, but only for outdoor areas. In Farmington, that includes Bisti Bay.

Farmington Aquatics Manager Sterling Schwartz said Bisti Bay at Brookside Park will open May 28, including a new slide that has yet to be ridden by anyone outside of testing.

Under Yellow, pools used for physical therapy or socially distanced exercise can be open at a 33% capacity indoors and outdoors. The local indoor facilities, the Farmington Aquatic Center and Lions Pool, have been open for lessons and therapeutic activities, such as lap swimming and exercise classes, throughout the winter, Schwartz said.

“We will adjust occupancy levels according to where the county stands on the state’s public health orders at any given time,” Schwartz said. “If we reach Green or Turquoise, the Farmington Aquatic Center will be able to offer public swim at limited occupancies.”

Schwartz said the locker rooms, showers and restrooms are open, but guests are encouraged to use them as little as possible. Schwartz said swimmers are encouraged to come already dressed to swim, use the rinse showers on the pool decks and then shower at home after leaving the pool.

The policy at pools will be for people to wear masks within the facility when not swimming.

mmitchell@durangoherald.com

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