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Quincy club pools open in defiance of state guidelines

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Pools at Quincy Country Club and Sheridan Swim Club were open on Monday against the advice and guidelines from state and local health officials.

Both facilities advertised their pool openings on their Facebook pages, telling people Phase 3 gave them green light to open up again.

Adams County Public Health Administrator Jerrod Welch said that's not the case and said he has already explained that to both organizations.

"We explored that process with them," Welch said. "We're not recommending those activities. We don't think that's probably the safest idea at this point in time."

According to the Reopen Illinois plan, "all water slides and pools should be closed" during Phase 3.

"At this time, pools should not be open," Illinois Department of Public Health spokesperson Melaney Arnold said.

It's unclear when pools would be allowed to open, but Arnold said, "Guidance is forthcoming."

Quincy's Jackson-Lincoln Swimming Complex and Indian Mounds Pool previously announced plans to remain closed in 2020.

The Centers for Disease Control said while there's no evidence that COVID-19 can spread through pool water, the concern lies in the lack of social-distancing and coming in contact with things like chairs and pool noodles where the virus can live.

Arnold said law enforcement should be involved when a facility refuses to comply with guidelines.

The Adams County Sheriff's Office had previously said it would warn a business that's in violation and then refer the issue to the appropriate state agency for enforcement that could involve license revocation.

"It would be an education, then a warning and then a referral," Welch said.

A positive COVID-19 test has already emerged from a person who attended a Memorial Day pool party at Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks.

Welch said Adams County is now preparing for large-scale contact tracing.

"We're tooling up pretty heavily for contact tracing and we have been both in the training process with staff and we're also looking at some contracting options," Welch said.

He said it's important for everyone to stick with the guidelines the state has handed down.

"That's been put together by a lot of scientist and epidemiologists who know what these processes look like so we're going to recommend these processes to be followed very specifically," Welch added.

Management at Sheridan Swim Club said "no comment" when a WGEM News reporter asked to speak with them Monday.

A person answering the phone at the Quincy Country Club said the manager wasn't available, but said the club was limiting the number of people allowed at the pool.

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Blake Sammann

Blake Sammann is a reporter and weekend anchor at WGEM News.

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