The Minister of Health, Daisy Corrales, has issued an order to temporarily close public pools that fail to fulfill the requirements established by the Regulation on Management of Public Pools (Executive Decree Nº 26671-S Reglamento Sobre Manejo de Piscinas Publicas) if changes aren’t made soon.
In the canton of Nicoya, health authorities spent the last six months carrying out a general inspection to guarantee that the pools’ infrastructure is up to code.
According to Gabriel Sotelo Gonzales, Nicoya health inspector, it’s not that that rules have changed but that they’re looking for compliance with the existing laws related to that kind of public infrastructure. Sotelo reported that the vast majority of recreational and tourist centers have deficiencies that should be corrected. However, they have already given correction orders and called for the attention of business owners.
The law addresses issues including sanitary concerns, construction designs, forms of operating and maintenance of public pools.
The Ministry of Health’s orders have generated unforeseen expenses and worry for some business owners. For example, Joellen Hughes, owner of the Gilded Iguana in Guiones in the district of Nosara, commented that the Ministry of Health is asking for several changes, some of which are easy and others more difficult. She said that they’re implementing the easiest changes first, such as signage with the pool hours, a medical kit and first aid room, and installing flowers to mark the boundary between the pool zone and the restaurant.
However, other changes require more effort and money. For example, they ask for a full-time operator, designated to maintain the pool’s chemical balance, as well as another person certified in first aid and CPR that must be present whenever the pool is open. Hughes expressed concern that if they have to pay additional personnel just for the pool, it could become too costly to keep the pool open for guests.
In the Multiplaza of Nicoya’s Country Club, the owner, Alvaro Badilla, indicated that they’ve already made the required changes, such as widening doors, channeling water draining from the pool and even changing the shape of the pool so that it doesn’t have 90-degree angles. “It’s already corrected. The architect designed something there. It turned out well,” told Badilla. Nevertheless, he added, “Remodeling is always expensive.”
For her part, Rocio Lara of the Harbor Reef Hotel in Guiones, acknowledged that the hotels pool was evaluated in October and that the inspector indicated that they would have to correct some small errors. However, they are still waiting to receive the list of needed corrections.
According to Sotelo, they’ve already issued the sanitary orders and are following up to ensure compliance with the rules.