Pool closes

The city pool is closed temporarily, Kilgore city officials said Monday, due to coronavirus precautions. Two lifeguards tested positive, the city confirmed, leading to the temporary closure. The Lazy Splash Pad remains open, and there is hope the pool can re-open next Monday.

The city of Kilgore announced a temporary closure of its city pool Monday, following reports of positive COVID-19 tests among its staff members, and city hall offices closed Monday, as well, to walk-in traffic as a result of an uptick in cases.

Two lifeguards who work at the pool recently tested positive for the virus, according to a press release distributed by the city Monday.

“We have had a couple of positive tests for COVID,” said B.J. Owen, the city’s director of special services. He and his staff are notifying individuals known to have had contact with the two lifeguards.

“We are taking this time to isolate our staff in accordance with CDC guidelines and sanitize our facility,” he said. “We hope to be able to reopen as early as next Monday, July 13th.” Owen said updates will be posted to the Kilgore City Pool Facebook page as well as to the city’s page at www.facebook.com/CityofKilgore.

The pool, along with the Lazy Splash Ranch splash pad, had only recently opened for the summer, on June 13. The splash pad is unaffected by the closure, a city spokesperson said Tuesday, and it will remain open.

“We weren’t even sure we were going to get to open,” Owen told the city council at an early June meeting.

The opening of the aquatic amenities was delayed as Texas was in the midst of sweeping statewide closures of nonessential businesses as a preventative measure against the spread of the virus.

Restrictions were set in place at the pool in order to prevent the spread of the virus, including setting the maximum capacity of the pool to 150 swimmers at a time. Last summer, the number of guests swelled to 800 in a single day during special events at the pool, including movie screenings. Those types of events are also suspended for the summer of 2020.

City staff also called for the closure of changing rooms at the pool and guests have had their temperature taken before being allowed entry. Pool staff stepped up cleaning and sanitation procedures.

In case you might have missed it, the city closed its offices to the public late last week, due to the increase in virus cases in the state, as hospitalizations hit an all-time high on Monday. The announcement was in Saturday’s News Herald.

The lobby of Kilgore’s city hall is closed to walk-in traffic. But anyone who needs to pay their water/utility bill can do so online at cityofkilgore.com, or place their check in the outdoor kiosk on the north wall of the building.

Other options include signing up for a bank draft or paying by phone at calling (903) 984-5081.

“At least for now, this is temporary,” said City Manager Josh Selleck. Council approval is not required for the temporary closure. “This is me, all me.”

“I do want to make it clear that city hall will be fully staffed. We will all be here, and we’ll continue to handle all city services, we’re just restricting traffic in the building.”

Garage sale permits will also be handled by phone, he said. Court payments should be mailed – check or money order only – or dropped in the kiosk payment box. Payments can also be made online at trafficpayment.com

Vendors and others with city business will call their contact at city hall and enter by appointment. Screening procedures may be implemented for those visitors.

Anyone with questions can call city hall, (903) 984-5081.

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