November 18, 2020
Pacific Northwest Swimming
Implementation of the Nov. 15, 2020 Washington Stay Safe Regulations
Following Governor Inslee’s Nov. 12 speech and the Nov. 15 news conference regarding the revisions to the Washington Stay Safe Regulations, Pacific Northwest Swimming (PNS) has consulted with both the Governor’s Office and the state Department of Health to clarify the expectations for competitive swimming. The goal of PNS continues to be to protect the swimmers and others involved with swimming and to minimize the risk of transmission of the coronavirus. Based on the published regulations and the on-going communications, these paragraphs summarize the current limitations and the actions that PNS has taken to respond to the current situation. PNS will be reviewing the situation again in early December in anticipation of any changes in the regulations at the scheduled December 14 expiration.
This third wave surge of COVID infections in the state is quite serious, and PNS must do its part to keep the infection rate low. This means that the on-going requirements should always be strictly followed by everyone. Wear a mask, maintain physical distance, stay home when sick, wash hands, avoid social gatherings and never exceed the maximum occupancy limits.
The Regulations released on Sunday, Nov. 15, 2020, affect certain businesses or activities and state that: if an activity is not listed, currently existing guidance shall continue to apply (WA DOH, 11/16/20). Pool and spa facilities that are currently open can remain open including pools that are associated with fitness centers or gyms (those indoor areas are closed under the Nov. 15 Executive Order). The only change is that there can be NO social gatherings at an indoor pool and social gatherings at outdoor pools are now limited to 5 people outside the household.
All other activities are allowed/restricted as stipulated in the current guidance document that was published on October 9, 2020. [click here for entire document]
The limitations on team practices also continue as previously published without revision. “More than two swimmers per lane, but no more than 4, are permitted for competitive swim team practices if supervised by a certified coach meeting the requirement of WAC 246-260-99901 and the team’s COVID-19 safety and response plan includes a diagram of safe lane.”
The current requirements for PPE, sanitization, social distancing, and capacity limits continue as previously implemented [click here for entire document]: Wear a mask, maintain physical distance, stay home when sick, wash hands, avoid social gatherings and never exceed the maximum occupancy limits.
The PNS coaches met on Monday, Nov. 16, 2020 to assess appropriate actions regarding competitions and the PNS Board convened the same evening to implement actions to minimize the risk of transmission of the coronavirus at swimming events. PNS will support spirit of the Nov. 15 Executive Order and will continue efforts that assist in controlling the recent exponential surge in cases of infection and resultant hospitalizations.
Consequently, PNS has suspended all sanctioned meets for the duration of the Governor’s Executive Order (currently Dec. 14, 2020). The PNS Executive Committee decided it was in the best interest for safety. Following the Governor’s speech last week, PNS asked the Governor’s Office to keep pools open during any pending shutdown and they have honored our request. If the restrictions get even tighter, those not in compliance will certainly find themselves on the chopping block. PNS is expressing appreciation for pools not being impacted and allowed to stay open during this time. No one in PNS wishes to risk losing our pools by any issues that might occur at a meet.
Competitions are also limited by the current restrictions on youth sport activities: http://www.governor.wa.gov/news-media/inslee-announces-statewide-restrictions-four-weeks
Furthermore, as of Wednesday, Nov. 18, Proclamation 20-25.8 regarding water recreation facilities has been revised to: “No swim meets, diving competitions, and other water sports competitions are allowed in any county”.
Per the Nov. 16 decision of the PNS BOD, all currently issued PNS sanctions for meets prior to Dec. 14, 2020, are suspended and no new sanctions will be issued for this time period. Meet sanction fees that have been paid to PNS will be returned to the clubs. Meets currently planned for the weekends of Nov. 21-22 and following should be cancelled or postponed until such time as circumstances permit. PNS will be reviewing the situation again in early December in anticipation of any changes in the regulations at the scheduled December 14 expiration.