Bathers may need to arrive and leave in their swimwear for a day out at the pool from July

Children could only be allowed to swim as part of a lesson, in proposed safety measures
Children may only be allowed to swim as part of a lesson, under proposed new rules. (Getty Images)

In any other year, the sunny weather would have sent families heading for their local public pool to cool off.

However, going for a swim has been out of bounds since the coronavirus pandemic sent the UK into lockdown in late March.

Now, plans are being made for their reopening – possibly in July – with official guidelines on how they will be able to safely welcome back bathers expected to be published on 15 June.

According to The Sunday Times, people may have to arrive already wearing their swimwear and leave in it while still wet, having stored their belongings in a locker, as part of plans to avoid people getting changed on the premises.

Read more: Is it possible to go swimming during the current coronavirus restrictions?

Jane Nickerson, chief executive of Swim England, said: “In the early days, it may be that you are encouraged not to use the changing rooms.

“What we’re suggesting is going ‘beach-ready’. Some pools might ask you just to put on a towelling robe and – let’s hope you’re not on a bus, you’re in a car – travel home like that.”

It is also likely that children will only be allowed to use pools as part of a lesson.

She said: “Kids playing around – I don’t think we’ll be seeing that for some time because of the social distancing.

Read more: Here’s why you should avoid swallowing swimming pool water

“It doesn’t mean that we couldn’t do... [children’s] lessons, or some club and community activity - as long as they are programmed and maintaining a distance.”

The proposals, which the government will be reviewing before making a final decision, also detail social distancing measures – including possibly just one person per three square metres.

Swimmers are likely to be encouraged to keep moving without standing at the ends to rest, and to give a five-metre berth to the person ahead.

Similarly, lanes could be positioned so that everyone swims clockwise, diving may be banned, and areas like ladders will almost certainly be regularly cleaned.

Read more: Regular exercise could have an anti-ageing effect on the body

The World Health Organization has previously said “swimming in a well-maintained, properly chlorinated pool is safe” in terms of infection risk.

It is estimated that 14 million adults in England, or one in three people, engage in this form of exercise every year.

People have been allowed to go open-water swimming during the lockdown as long it is not in lakes that are shut to the public.

Swim England has put together a document to ensure people remain safe – and it also lists all venues known to be available.

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