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Berlin: New Corona Rules at Outdoor Swimming Pools

Some of Berlin’s public outdoor swimming pools are about to reopen on Monday. Judging from the new rules, going there will be a whole new experience.

Many Berliners are looking forward to the swimming pool season. Berlin is not Hollywood, meaning hardly anyone in the city has a private pool. In spring and summer, the public ones are usually crammed with people munching French fries, lotioning each other’s backs and cooling down in the water.

Complicated Rules

So far, anyone could hit the pool at any time and as long as they pleased. They were allowed to jump into the water from diving boards of different heights, gather on the grass in large groups and run around like crazy between all the towels. Not anymore.

Going to a public swimming pool will require discipline from now on. There are so many new rules nobody will be able to remember them all. People will have to write them down in order not to forget. First of all: Four public outdoor pools will reopen tomorrow. This part is not too complicated.

These are the pools that will open:

  • ‘Sommerbad Wilmersdorf’
  • ‘Sommerbad Olympiastadion’
  • ‘Sommerbad Spandau-Süd’
  • ‘Strandbad Wannsee’

Time Slots

But nobody may just go to any of those pools and stay all day long. There are time slots. Their duration varies from three to five hours, depending on the time of the day and the pool. Once a time slot ends, everyone will be thrown out. The next visitors may enter once a 60-minute cleaning and disinfection process is completed.

This is what Berlin pools looked like before Corona. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

For instance, the ‘Sommerbad Wilmersdorf’ pool has three time slots, from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. for those who intend to catch the worm, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for those who make it out of bed before noon, and from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. for everyone else. This pool will even offer showers and changing rooms.

Online ‘Time Slot Tickets’

The time slots for the pool at Wannsee lake are longer, but its nudist beaches will be closed due to “capacity limits”. No skinny dipping this year, thanks to Corona.

Tickets to the four public pools need to be purchased here (German only) for 3.80 Euro, since the ticket booths will remain closed. But there are limits here too: “Time slot tickets” may be bought up to seven days in advance and the number of tickets per purchase is limited to five.

Bathing Beaches to Open

The bathing beaches in Lübars, Friedrichshagen and Jungfernheide got permissions to open as well. In Lübars, there are no time slots, meaning the duration of visits is not limited. At the lake resort in Friedrichshagen, the policies were unclear as of May 24th. The bathing beach in Jungfernheide opens on Tuesday, May 26th, 2020.

Everywhere, at all pools, bathing beaches and lake resorts, Corona rules apply. Loads of them. Get your pencils ready.

Rules at Pools

  • There are time slots at most facilities of this kind. Thirty minutes before they end, people need to get out of the water. Then they will have to leave. The next time slot group comes in after disinfection.
  • Visitors may have to wait for a spot in the water, depending on the capacity of each pool.
  • Showers and changing rooms are closed at most public open air swimming pools in Berlin. The outdoor cold water showers are open, but no soap or shampoo may be used. Lavatories are open as well.
  • The distance rules apply. Guests need to keep a distance of 1.5 meters (five feet). When they sunbathe on lawns, the distance needs to be 5 meters (16 feet). Sunbathing right next to any pools is prohibited.
  • Everyone needs to wash their hands with water and soap before entering any pool.
  • Guests who use swimlanes may only overtake each other at the two ends of the pool. (Don’t worry, we did not fully comprehend this rule either.)
  • Water slides, diving platforms, wading pools, and playgrounds remain closed for now.

‘Berliner Bäder’, the company that runs most public outdoor polls in the city, said it apologized for any inconvenience. But in the time of the pandemic, it had been necessary to add rules. Since it was impossible to monitor all guests at all times, consideration for the other guests and rationality were important. “Please help us keep the pools open by following all rules”, a statement read.

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