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Bloomfield's aquatic center to remain closed this summer, fall amid coronavirus concerns

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times
The hot weather drew a lot of people to the Bloomfield Family Aquatic Center in June 2016 in Bloomfield. This year the center will remain closed through the fall due to the coronavirus outbreak and concerns over city finances.

AZTEC — The Bloomfield Family Aquatic Center will not open this summer or fall due to safety concerns related to the coronavirus.

The City of Bloomfield announced the plans on Facebook after a City Council decision.

“It comes down to safety,” said City Manager George Duncan when reached by phone on June 8.

In the Facebook post, the city said opening the pool could potentially expose both patrons and staff to the virus. The post highlights that San Juan County has the second highest number of COVID-19 cases in the state.

The city had consulted with its insurance provider and learned that it could be exposed to potential liabilities, especially if it is not able to meet all the Centers for Disease Control guidelines for swimming pools.

The hot weather drew a lot of people to the Bloomfield Family Aquatic Center on Tuesday June 21, 2016, in Bloomfield.

Adhering to those guidelines would require increasing the amount of money spent on the aquatic center, including hiring additional staff to screen patrons and to enforce public safety rules. The CDC also recommends that lifeguards communicate with patrons using a public address system. The pool does not currently have a public address system.

If someone did contract the virus who had visited the pool, Bloomfield would be responsible for tracking down all swimmers who might have been exposed.

In addition, lifeguards could be exposed to the disease if resuscitating a swimmer.

At the same time, Bloomfield is looking at potential budget reductions due to reduced gross receipts tax revenue related to COVID-19 business closures.

Duncan said the City Council, himself and the mayor acknowledge the pool's importance to the community.

The Bloomfield Family Aquatic Center, seen in this June 2016 file photo, won't open this year due to the coronavirus outbreak.

“It’s utilized by the seniors as well as young folk,” he said.

He said Bloomfield does not yet know when the facility may be able to reopen.

In the meantime, the city is taking care of maintenance needs.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.

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