Are Pool Companies an Essential Service in Your Area?
CISA Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce: Ensuring Community and National Resilience in COVID-19 Response Version 1.0, Page 9. Public Works. Workers such as plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences.
Sadly, this document is not a law. It was designed as a guideline. Something that a state or county could use to pull information from if they wanted as they developed their own ordinance. This has been the source of some confusion. The other problem is the language used is vague and subject to interpretation. We need to see Swimming Pool Service in black and white (like the recent addition of Landscaping), besides when things are subject to interpretation, people will interpret.
Examples of PPE include: gloves, goggles, face shields, face masks, and respiratory protection – OSHA document Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19
Are You Essentially At-Risk?
It’s a dangerous world out there right now with the COVID-19 pandemic. People are social distancing, quarantined, mass buying, and on the verge of becoming hysterical. Many businesses have been forced to modify or close their doors entirely if not deemed “essential.” We, in the pool business, have been graciously recognized as providing an essential service in most areas (Wisconsin & Michigan have not been so lucky) Besides. Water sanitation is nothing to sneeze at? Too soon for an illness idiom?
Keep tabs on your area. Shelter in place laws are evolving. Just because you are considered an essential service today, it does not mean you will be on that list tomorrow.
While we are super grateful to still be employed, we can’t help but be burdened with the thought of how we are putting ourselves at risk, day in and day out. I know we have all woken up and wondered, “What if I get it? What would that mean for my family? My business? Those who I have come into contact with?”
I Can’t Afford Not to Work
“I think your biggest risk is going to be customer interaction and interaction with heavily used public components like gas pumps, store pin pads, etc. Act like every doorknob and part…[has] COVID on it.” Expresses Brian Delfenthal (https://stopfrogsinyourpoolfilter.com)
We have to be safe and smart. The necessary precautions must be taken to protect ourselves and others. This virus is spread by contact droplets on our hands & surfaces and also from coughing. The scariest part is that we can transmit it without even feeling sick! We all know washing our hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. Besides that, what else can we do?
Keep Your Sick Ass in Your House
Try not to share tools or use a water cooler. Don’t share food. Try to only have one trade on a site at a time, if possible.
If you feel sick…STAY HOME! Any cold or flu-like symptoms like chills, cough, fever should be taken seriously. Do not go to work and believe it or not, do not head immediately to the doctor or emergency room. Hypochondria can land your ass with the Rona.
The overwhelming odds are that even if you get this, you will recover. If you feel you need care, call the office or hospital first as they may have specific guidelines to protect you and others. TeleDoc appointments are available through a lot of insurances for as little as $5.00.
If I Can Hit You With my Telepole, You Are Too Close
If you have to go out…there is the 6-ft rule. And no, we are not talking about party subs. Social etiquette is making a shift to accommodate the “no-touch” policy in effect.
“Handshakes are non-existent and my customers are staying at least a few feet away from me at all times.” Richie Hamrock of Hamrock Pool in Toledo, Ohio explains, “The ones that don’t distance themselves give me elbow bumps instead of handshakes.”
If you have a physical store, try to keep yourself, your customers, and your crew safe. Have wipes readily available for your guests. If weather permits, leave the door open, so people don’t have to touch handles (and less wiping for you!)
“I hand every customer their card back with a disinfecting wipe.” Frank Disher of Poolwerx in Keller, TX, isn’t taking any chances, ” [I] frequently disinfect my hands [and] the door handles of the store.”
You can also try something in the spirit of pools and mark off a pick-up area or designate 6-ft back from the counter.
Outside With The Rona ?
Keep sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer with you at all times. Wipe off everything you can that gets a lot of exposure. Even on things, you wouldn’t think of. Some pool pros have a routine. Anytime they get gas or anything like that, they wipe off the pumps and use hand sanitizer.
Looking for something to spray instead? Follow Tal Millican’s (Multi-Tork Pool Tools) recipe for safety
“Spray ‘it’ first; spray my hand(s) after touching.” He isn’t worried about shortages. “When I run out, I’ll likely resort to a couple of drops of sodium hypochlorite per qt. water.” While he hasn’t tried this concoction, he says “based on my beer making, it’s my best guesstimation.”
(See my article on using cal-hypo to sanitize water)
You can also wear disposable gloves like or go McGuyver on that virus by using a clothespin to touch things like gate boxes or even a chopstick like Roger Johnson, an installer at RHR POOL, in Florida. Need to sanitize on the go? Take a page from Bruce Hudson, a self-proclaimed poolswami.
“[I } saw a video yesterday of a BIC lighter rigged with a paperclip. After you use it, just spark it and voila, sanitized.” – Bruce Hudson
Superheros Wear Masks ?♂️?♀️
Face masks are ubiquitous among our pool pros. Jimi Ogletree wears gloves AND a facemask at every job for CSD Pools, INC, out of Marietta, GA. Although it is “mostly for the pollen though,” he admits. He also changes his gloves after every job and sanitizes [his hands] after he removes his gloves and enters his truck.
Some people think there isn’t even any need for extra steps. Just ask Hampe Pools:
“Do you mess with chlorine? What’s the problem?” – Jeff Hampe
James Waine of Kenco Pools, Longview, TX believes it’s all hype. He claims he is doing “nothing” and “just not worrying about it.” He believes
“the damn news media just likes to scare people” and boldly declares he doesn’t “think it’s that big of [a] deal.” – James Waine
While others say we should have been doing this all along., “I didn’t wait for this [pandemic] to start doing what most are doing now.”
Finally, some people aren’t taking any chances at all.
Jeramiah Anglin of Wilmington Hot Tub isn’t servicing customers at all anymore. He shares his reasons,
“Dealing with customer’s backyards that are potentially covered in viruses, having to buy supplies that are potentially covered in virus, I’m close to running out of gloves and out of sanitizer. It’s just not worth it to me to be stressed out all day. And to top it off I cant stop anywhere on my routes for lunch or to use a bathroom.” – Jeramiah Anglin
Common sense needs to take the lead, agrees Hamrock,
“There is not much you can do besides practice phenomenal hygiene and distancing.”
For more information on the COVID-19 virus, please visit