COVID-19 Water Safety Tips

Published: July 17, 2020

Michael Parry, MD, Director, Department of Infectious Diseases and Asha Shah, MD, Associate Director, Department of Infectious Diseases

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Stamford Health is dedicated to stopping the spread of infectious diseases such as COVID-19. Get service updates, answers to questions and learn how to help in the greater Stamford CT community.

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It’s summer and really hot. You may be wondering if you can go to the beach or your public pool while keeping your health and safety top of mind.

If your main goal is to avoid COVID-19, it’s best to stay home. (See also: how to enjoy summer safely.)

Can you get COVID-19 from swimming?

Right now, there is no evidence that shows COVID-19 can spread through bodies of water.

Do you still need to practice social distancing while in the water?

Yes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you should still maintain 6 feet distance between others who are not part of your household, even when in a pool, ocean, or lake. Practicing these guidelines helps to slow the spread of COVID-19 no matter where you are.

Is it safe to share food at the beach or pool?

The CDC recommends you avoid sharing food (and other items like toys and beach supplies) with people who don’t live under your roof.

  • Sharing food brings people physically close together and puts you at higher risk for “catching” the disease.
  • COVID-19 most likely spreads through both contaminated surfaces and respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.

How can you keep your hands sanitized at the beach or pool?

The CDC recommends you wash your hands often, especially when arriving at the swim area, after getting out of the pool, and before you eat. If washing your hands isn’t possible, bring a hand sanitizer or disinfectant wipes with at least 60% alcohol.

Do you really need to wear a mask at the beach or pool?

Yes. The CDC recommends you wear a mask or cloth face covering at all times when you cannot maintain 6 feet of distance from others even while outside.

  • If you are not wearing your face covering, cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or the inside of your elbow.
  • Wash or sanitize your hands right after.

The first step in helping to slow or stop the spread of COVID-19 in public swim areas is for staff to stay informed and encourage a healthy environment.

  • Staff should maintain social distance and practice proper mask use and hand hygiene.
  • Many beaches in and around Fairfield County are operating at a reduced capacity, although guidelines can change at any time. Be sure to check your local town website for more information.

Learn more about important considerations for public beaches on the CDC website.

Featured Expert/ Author

Infectious Disease, Internal Medicine

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