BENSON — There’s probably no better way to beat summertime heat than splashing in a refreshing pool.
Just ask the kids enjoying Benson’s city pool, which opened on June 8 for public swimming.
“The pool usually opens earlier than it did this year, but they waited because of the whole COVID thing,” said 13-year-old Moses Hauss, who was enjoying the water last Friday with friends Francisco Quezada, 12, and Harley Vanwormer, 13. “We’re just glad it’s finally open. There are more rules this summer, but that’s OK. We know they have to be careful about keeping everyone safe.”
Dave Gaefke, one of the pool managers for the City of Benson, said that because of COVID concerns and social distancing, the pool is limiting the number of swimmers to 50.
“We’re not allowing pool toys — no snorkels, balls, or floating devices — only life jackets,” he said. “Our showers and locker rooms are closed this year, but the restrooms are open.”
Even with the new rules, Gaefke said everyone seems happy to have the pool open again.
“As of now (Friday) we’re one of the few public pools in the area that is open. I think other communities are waiting to see what happens with the virus, especially since we’re starting to see more cases in Cochise County.”
Meanwhile, families are coming from neighboring communities to cool off in Benson’s pool, said lifeguard Zane Cluff.
“We’ve had kids from Benson, St. David, Pomerene and Huachuca City now that we’re open.”
For 11-year-old Sadie Thompson, swimming is a great way to hang out with friends while staying cool.
“We’re probably going to be spending a lot of time at the pool this summer,” she said. “I’m here with my two friends, Charlotte and Scarlett Cluff. Their older brother is one of the lifeguards.”
When asked what they thought about the new restrictions, all three girls said they really didn’t mind.
“So many things have been canceled, that we’re happy to be swimming,” said Scarlett Cluff, 12. “Because of all the rules, they even cut back on the hours the pool is open.”
Benson is requiring that all participants sign a registration or waiver form the first time they swim, which remains on file for the season.
The form can be found on the city website by going to www.cityofbenson.com.
The pool is open Monday through Saturday and swimming is divided into two sessions, with the first from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., followed by the second session from 2 to 4 p.m.
There is an adult swim Monday through Thursday from 4:30 to 5 p.m. All sessions are limited to 50 participants.
According to the City of Benson website, there will be ongoing evaluations of swim activities to determine cancellations of sessions, or pool closures as warranted. Go to the city website at www.cityofbenson.com to stay updated.