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Santa Maria to close Paul Nelson Aquatic Center due to COVID-19 outbreak

Paul Nelson Pool
Anikka Abbott/KEYT

SANTA MARIA, Calif. -- The City of Santa Maria will close the Paul Nelson Aquatic Center on Wednesday due to an outbreak of COVID-19.

The City says 20 percent of their lifeguard staff tested positive or have been exposed to others that have tested positive for the virus.

City Departments will follow County Public Health guidelines during this outbreak.

“We are required by the County Health Order and the City’s Safety Plan to close the Center, until at least January 14th, the quarantine period date,” stated Dennis Smitherman, Recreation Services Manager.

The facility will close at 5 p.m. on Wednesday.

“It could be imperative for a lifeguard to provide lifesaving maneuvers, which include close or physical contact. Spreading the virus to/from our patrons is a risk we must avoid,” Smitherman said. “We need our community and staff to be safe. We thank them for their understanding and cooperation as we navigate the impacts of this pandemic.”

The Paul Nelson Aquatic Center reopened in July after a major renovation and a temporary closure due to budget constraints.

Since July, the Center has been open for limited lap swimming, fitness classes and Santa Maria Swim Club use.

The City says approximately 100 people per day use the Center’s pool.

The Center's staff will re-evaluate the pool closure and make recommendations for re-opening on January 14, 2021.

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Julia Nguyen

Julia Nguyen is an assignment editor and social media coordinator for NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Julia, click here.

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