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Wolf Administration Encourages Summer Pool Safety, Reminds Pennsylvanians to Practice Social Distancing and Wear Masks


Harrisburg, PA – The Department of Health today urged all Pennsylvanians to practice social distancing, wear masks and be aware of pool safety concerns as Pennsylvanians enjoy the summer days outside. Face masks should not be worn in the water as a wet face covering may make it difficult to breathe.

“If you are at a private or public pool with other people outside of your household, it is important to continue to practice social distancing and to wear masks to help prevent the further spread of COVID-19,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “Face masks should not be worn in the water as a wet face covering may make it difficult to breathe. In addition to the threat of COVID-19, Pennsylvanians need to take the proper steps to ensure they have a safe and fun time at the pool.”

It is important to take the following precautions before going to the pool:

  • Have a responsible adult watch young children playing in or around water (in addition to lifeguards);
  • Use the buddy system (never swim alone);
  • Learn to swim;
  • Learn CPR;
  • Locate the lifesaving equipment before entering the pool;
  • Have a phone by the pool and know who to contact in an emergency;
  • Never enter water that is cloudy;
  • Know your role in preventing recreational water illnesses; and
  • Know the local weather conditions and forecast before swimming.

Public pools were permitted to reopen in the yellow and green phases of the Governor’s phased-in reopening plan, provided they follow CDC guidance.

On July 1, 2020, the Secretary of Health mandated masks to be worn in all public places. While at public pools, Pennsylvanians should continue to use cloth face coverings as feasible. Face masks should not be worn in the water as a wet face covering may make it difficult to breathe. For activities in the water, like swimming, it is particularly important to maintain physical distance from others. For more information about the mask guidance order, visit here.

In addition to pool safety, Pennsylvanians need to remember to wear sunscreen and take precautions to protect themselves in extreme summer weather. Sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher with broad spectrum coverage can help protect the skin from dangerous sunburns and decrease the chances of developing serious sun-exposure-related health conditions. For more information about sunscreen and heat safety, visit here.

The Wolf Administration stresses the role Pennsylvanians play in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19: 

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if   soap and water are not available. 
  • Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow, not your hands. 
  • Clean surfaces frequently. 
  • Stay home to avoid spreading COVID-19, especially if you are unwell. 
  • If you must go out for a life-sustaining reason, please wear a mask. 

Updated Coronavirus Links: Press Releases, State Lab Photos, Graphics 

All Pennsylvania residents are encouraged to sign up for AlertPA, a text notification system for health, weather, and other important alerts like COVID-19 updates from commonwealth agencies. Residents can sign up online at

For more information on pool safety and your health, visit or follow the Department of Health on Facebook and Twitter.

MEDIA CONTACT:    April Hutcheson, 717-787-1783 or                            

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