2021 Season Important Information & FAQs
(May 14, 2021 update)
We are looking forward to the opening of the pool on May 15 and welcoming you all back! We are also looking forward to a more normal season with a greater variety of pool offerings. Merrimack Pool will, of course, continue to follow Montgomery County Pool regulations, which have recently been updated in line with our gradual return to normalcy.
We are using the same reservation system as last summer, and the same check-in and check-out system. We will continue to be careful and conservative as we incorporate the learnings from last year, the revised guidance of local, state, and federal authorities, and work together to ensure the safety of our membership and staff.
Please carefully review these Guidelines & Safety Requirements before you come to the pool. By using the pool facilities, you agree to abide by the terms of the Pledge & Waiver.
Key changes include:
- Reservations are strictly required to use the pool.
- Masks: The CDC has changed its guidance to say that vaccinated individuals no longer need to wear masks outdoors. Maryland regulations for pools state that patrons should wear face masks in line with CDC guidance for beaches and pools. Merrimack Pool still requires its patrons to wear masks when lining up to enter the pool grounds and while walking around inside the pool area. Once inside the pool area you must maintain social distance from other patrons outside your household.
- Please recognize the concerns and sensitivities of others, whether vaccinated or not, and do what you can to make the experience at Merrimack enjoyable and comfortable for all.
- Chairs are arranged to maintain social distancing; please do not move them. You may bring your own chairs.
- The kiddie and intermediate pools will be open this year! Children who are not toilet trained are prohibited from entering the main pool.
- There are no guests allowed at this time. We have limited capacity, which we allocate to our Equity Members and Affiliates through the reservation system.
- Photos on file are required for everyone on your account to complete their electronic ID. Upload a head shot in advance or have the guards take a picture when the gatehouse is not busy.
- The water fountains and bathrooms will be open and working this summer.
- Mack’s Café, Playset, and Sports (basketball) Court: We expect Mack’s Café to reopen sometime this summer. And we are scheduled to install a new child playset sometime in July. The Sports Court basketball court will be open as well. Parents, please note that the use of these facilities will not be monitored by pool staff.
- In-water Swimming Lessons: We will be offering in-pool swimming instruction this summer, under a plan that we submitted to the Montgomery County Board of Health. The instructor will wear a face mask and a face shield while working with a swimmer. Private lessons will take place in the Open Swim area of the pool. A reservation must be booked in Open Swim as well as a reservation for a lesson time with a coach. We will send information for booking lessons and post it on the website, when available.
That’s a lot to take in so below are some FAQs that should help. But it’s important you understand these changes so you can get the most out of the 2021 pool season.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please email MerrimackPool@gmail.com.
What is the pool schedule?
Pool Schedule May 15 – May 28
|4:00pm-6:00pm||3 Lap Lanes, Open Swim (including Dive Well)|
|6:00pm-7:00pm Adults only||7 Lap Lanes, 2 swimmers in Dive Well|
Weekends and Holidays
|Noon-1:00pm Adults only||7 Lap Lanes, 2 swimmers in Dive Well|
|1:00pm-6:00pm||3 Lap Lanes, Open Swim (including Dive Well)|
- Lap Lane and adult Dive Well intervals are 30-minutes long; Open Swim intervals are 2-hours long, except for the last hour on weekends and holidays.
- From May 29 to June 15, the pool will be open from 3:00pm-8:00pm weekdays, and from 11:00am-8:00pm weekends and holidays.
- After Montgomery County Schools close, starting on June 16, the pool will be open from 11:00am-9:00pm weekdays, and from 10:00am-9:00pm weekends and holidays.
How long can I swim in a Lap Lane?
Lap Lane reservation slots will be 30-minutes long. During the last hour of each weekday and the first hour of each weekend day and holiday, all 7 lanes will be reserved for lap swimming. Starting approximately June 17, from 6:30am-7:30am all 7 lanes will be reserved for Early Bird Swim. (During swim team season, June 1 to late July, lap lanes will be used for swim team practice and Mini Maniac instruction from 3:30pm-7:00pm.) Three lanes will be reserved for lap swimming all other times the pool is open. (See the pool schedule above.)
Montgomery County regulations now allow more than one swimmer in a lap lane, as long as they maintain appropriate distancing. This summer we will allow 2 individuals to make reservations for each lap-lane. We ask that swimmers sharing a lane maintain social distance in the lane except when passing.
How long can I swim in Open Swim?
Each Open Swim reservation is for two hours, except in cases when there is one hour remaining in the open swim period.
Can very young children be part of Open Swim?
Yes, but only children who are toilet trained and do not wear diapers. Consistent with state pool regulations, diapers are not permitted in the main pool.
Are there any restrictions in the Open Swim area?
At this time, we are not going to allow pool toys, for example, inflatable balls, that may get in the way of other swimmers.
Will the Diving Boards be open for use?
The Dive Well and diving boards will be open for use as part of Open Swim, just as they were prior to COVID. During Dive Team practice, the Dive Well and surrounding deck will be reserved for the Dive Team and closed to other patrons.
How does the reservation system work?
- The Account Holder has the 1 login for your family.
There are just 4 booking options this year:
- Adult Lap Lane
- Adult Dive Well (for “hotel pool-like” swimming and as a waiting area if a Lap Lane is unused after 10 minutes into the time slot)
- Open Swim includes use of the Baby & Intermediate Pools, Dive Well, and relaxing on the Deck
- Lap Lane (during non-Adult only times)
Scroll to the date you are looking for, and then select the time slot that you looking to reserve.
Select the family members that you are looking to make reservations for, and select “Book It”
- Once a reservation is confirmed, you can view it in the My Reservations tab in your account. Existing reservations may be cancelled from the My Reservations tab. You can cancel one family member in your reservation or your entire group. To substitute a family member, uncheck the name of the person not going to the pool then check the name of the person who will use the slot. Remember, the per person limits cannot be shared among family members.
- If you cannot make the time you reserved, do cancel it right away. There are always members looking for open slots to swim. The front desk can also help if you call in advance 301-229-6579.
- Daily Guest Passes may not be used. Due to capacity restrictions we are not admitting non-member guests this season. We must have a record of everyone and their contact information on the premises should COVID tracing be necessary. If you have a caregiver who brings your children to the pool, please select Manage Account, Make a Payment from the website menu. The information for your caregiver can be entered there. Guest passes will remain on your account for future seasons.
- The reservation periods will open up each Thursday night at approximately 10:00pm for the week running from Saturday to the following Friday. (The opening time is approximate because it is a manual process).
- Beginning on Thursday at 10:00pm through Friday at 10:00pm, you may make up to 3 reservations per week per swimmer (we expect to increase this to 4 reservations when school ends). Starting on Saturday, you may make Same-Day reservations, up to a limit of 7 total reservations in a week, including any reservations made in the initial Thursday-Friday reservation period. Reservations beyond these limits will be cancelled so check the My Reservations tab on your account management page to confirm the reservations you are holding real-time.
- You may book back-to-back slots but those will each count against your weekend and weekly limits.
- We know it can be difficult to reserve in advance given unpredictable weather, but please be patient and understand that reservations may not be rebooked due to weather or other closures.
What is the new protocol to enter the pool?
We need to have every name of every pool member entering the pool grounds. We will need to make sure that every family agrees to the COVID-19 waiver. There will be a very strict entrance policy – no wandering in. All kids under the age of 12 will need to have one adult or caregiver present at all times. Families may not bring guests–we must make sure that pool members get priority this year.
Can I use the bathhouse?
Yes, all facilities, including the showers and lockers, will be available for member use.
How about weather and other closures?
Reserved times will not be adjusted for weather or other unexpected closures. If staff must close the pool unexpectedly for any weather or other reason, members may be asked to leave the pool for the remainder of their reserved time. Unlike prior years when we were able to have patrons wait out a thunder warning in the bathhouse, we will need to clear the entire pool area – not just the pool deck. We will Tweet whenever there is an issue with thunder closing the pool, just look for the Twitter feed on the pool website and our twitter handle is @Merrimack_Pool.
Is this the blueprint for the summer, or will you be changing as the weeks pass?
We spent considerable time and effort crafting this plan and hope it will be successful. But as federal, state, and local officials continue to update their guidance, we will continue to assess conditions and make adjustments as needed.
Why am I not getting an immediate response to my email?
The Pool Board is a group of volunteers, and due to the significant time spent in creating and implementing our operation plan, as well as the high volume of emails received, individual responses are not always possible in short order. We are hoping these FAQs will help.
Other than show up and have fun, what do we need to do while at the pool?
Thank you for asking! We realize there are an abundance of operating rules as we again navigate our way through this pandemic. Thanks to everyone’s cooperation, we had no known cases of COVID that originated at Merrimack Pool last season. We are again asking everyone in our community, to adhere to the restrictions on activities at the pool, obey the instructions of the staff and guards, and to respect the sensitivities of others. We look forward to a safe and enjoyable 2021 season at Merrimack Pool!