Todays article in the Telegraph 30.09.21

KEEPING indoor swimming
pools closed until December 1
is a “recipe for disaster” that
will cause drowning rates to
“skyrocket,” swim coach
Laurie Lawrence warns.
Under recent changes to
the NSW road map out of
lockdown, kids won’t be able
to go to an indoor swimming
class until December 1 – the
same day that brothels and
nightclubs are allowed to reopen
their doors.
Senior ministers are pushing
for the matter to be
resolved to allow indoor pools
to reopen alongside gyms but
are facing push-back from
NSW Health.
Ministers outside crisis
cabinet who were baffled by
the pools prohibition and
want it changed include
Police Minister David Elliott,
backed-in by Corrections
Minister Anthony Roberts.
Under the current rules,
indoor pools in Covid-free
regional NSW will be forced
to shut from October 11, even
though they are currently
open with strict density rules
already in place.
Chief health officer Kerry
Chant said the road map was
designed to “keep as many
unvaccinated people out of
indoor settings (as possible).”
She said children will be
permitted to “go in and sit
with their parents” in some
settings because the parents
will be vaccinated. While outdoor
pools were allowed to
open this week, swim safety
advocates are concerned
keeping indoor pools closed
will increase the risk of young
kids drowning.
There were 25 children
under four who drowned in
the year to July 2021 – a 108
per cent increase from the
year before, and 9 per cent
over the 10-year average.
Mr Lawrence warned that
preventing kids from learning
to swim indoors could result
in a shocking increase in
drowning rates.
“The drowning statistics
have already gone through
the roof in the under five age
group because of the lack of
ability to get to the pools,” he
said. “Without the pools being
open, with the lack of teachers,
the drowning rates in
Australia will skyrocket. It’s a
recipe for disaster.”
Those comments were
echoed by the industry.
“The risks of remaining
closed until summer far outweigh
the risks of opening
now with the right measures
in place,” Australian Swim
Schools Association Emily
McNeill said.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard
said the government
wanted to ensure people who
need swimming lessons can
get them.
“They can have them in
outdoor pools at the moment,”
he said.
Mr Hazzard said the government
would make announcements
“very soon” on
what would need to be done
to make indoor pools safe for
kids under 12 who are not eligible
for a vaccine.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian
said the closure of indoor
pools was “based on health
advice”.
Mum of two Melissa Kilgour
said the closure “doesn’t
make sense at all”.
“It’s a scary thought. My
kids can swim but I know
there are a lot of kids that
haven’t had the opportunity
to swim as much as they can
ahead of the swimming season,”
she said.
She said her kids Henry,
six, and Lucy, three, “absolutely
love” their regular
swimming lessons.