SWIMMING pools were shut after the coronavirus pandemic forced the nation into lockdown.
But have indoor and outdoor pools now open and how is social distancing being maintained?
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When will swimming pools reopen?
Outdoor swimming pools and open water venues were allowed to open from March 29.
Then on April 12, 2021 indoor pools reopened for individual use or within household groups.
But Boris Johnson will reserve the right to slam the brakes on lifting lockdown constraints if a new variant of the virus emerges or if the four-step plan steers off course.
However, pools remain shut in Scotland until Monday, April 26, 2021.
Meanwhile, Wales will not reopen swimming pools until May 3.
When will kids' swimming lessons restart?
Indoor activities for children, including club sessions for under 18s in aquatic sports and learn to swim lessons, have also been allowed to resume from April 12.
This will be a welcome change for many parents and children, after close to a year of restrictions disrupting daily life.
Swim England's chief executive Jane Nickerson told Radio 4 in 2020: "One of our biggest, biggest fears is that there will be a lost generation of children this year who don't learn to swim."
A statement from Nickerson said she was "delighted" about the reopening of outdoor swimming pools and open water venues, she stressed the importance of tomorrow's ease in restrictions.
Nickerson said: “While outdoor pools opening again is cause for celebration, especially as the Easter holidays begin, we realise that many still won’t have access to a swimming pool.
“That’s why it is vital that indoor pools do reopen on 12 April so the vast majority of people can get back into the water."
She acknowledged the wait for older swimmers wanting to train with organised groups was frustrating.
Can club activities and classes restart?
Over 18s will be waiting a little longer to resume training than their younger counterparts.
Organised indoor adult sport including club activities and group water-based activities for over 18s such as health and wellbeing classes, would be allowed five weeks after step two, on May 17.
Jane Nickerson said: “This announcement from the Government will come as a relief to so many people who have missed swimming and aquatic activity so much – the end is finally in sight."
“We appreciate that many will have been hoping for an earlier reopening date but we understand the need to be cautious as we don’t want to end up in another lockdown in the future."
“While I’m delighted that outdoor and indoor pools can reopen at the earliest available opportunity allowed by the Government, it’s still a bitter sweet moment for our thousands and thousands of over 18 club members.
“Of course adults will be allowed to get back in the water when pools reopen but, for so many of them, it will mean they have been unable to train with their clubs for more than six months by the time the indoor restrictions on adult organised sport are eased."
How will swimming pools be kept Covid-secure?
The government has said it will update its guidance to advise businesses on improving fresh air flow indoors.
The main concern was the struggle of maintaining social distancing pool-side and in changing rooms, rather that transmission in the water.
According to experts, the chlorine in swimming pools is likely to kill coronavirus – but there are still risks, yet they are mostly out of the water.
Coronavirus testing will be carried out regularly to keep infection rates under control.
Swimmers will likely have to adhere to social distancing rules in the water, while pool cleanliness will be a top priority.
People must arrive pool ready to reduce the number of people congregating in changing rooms and to ensure that showers are available post-swim.
Other guidance instructs swimmers to bring their own toys and floats with them, while monitoring their time in the water to respect time slots.
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