On 6 May, the government intends to discuss further easing. For Christian Ochsenbauer, head of the German Society for Bathing (DGfdB), this could be the last chance to save the outdoor swimming season: “The swimming pool operators hope that there is planning security. Time is pressing.” The problem of many outdoor pools is the lead time, some of which lasts several weeks. The winter water must be pumped out, new water pumped in, pool damage repaired. Above all, it is difficult to identify seasonal staff in the short term. Around 50,000 people in Germany keep the operation of the approximately 6000 outdoor and indoor pools alive. Even in normal times, most public baths calculate hard at the limit. Over the past 20 years, industry estimates suggest that the stock has shrunk by about 770.
Now, during the Covid 19 pandemic, the ongoing planning uncertainty could lead to more and more cities and municipalities having to decide to blow off the entire outdoor swimming season in the coming weeks. In the eyes of the operators, this is a disaster in many respects. “Swimming pools are not just leisure facilities,” says Christian Ochsenbauer, “they perform a variety of tasks and are important for social cohesion.”