Reykjavík residents lined up to enter the city’s swimming pools as they officially reopened at 12.01am this morning, eight weeks after they were closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It is the first time Reykjavík pools are open overnight. Iceland currently has 6 active cases of COVID-19, and is in the first stage of loosening restrictions imposed to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Most Reykjavík pools normally close at 10.00pm, this is the first time they remain open overnight. Pool-goers showed up early to several of the city’s pools, lining up outside the doors to wait for the reopening. Patrons counted down to midnight, cheering as they filed in. Many of those in line at Laugardalslaug were teenagers who told reporters they had been waiting since 10.00pm and planned to stay in the pool as long as possible.
Steinþór Einarsson, manager of the City of Reykjavík’s Sport and Recreation Department, says both staff and patrons were elated to return to the water. “I am here in Sundhöll and it’s sold out. I was down at Laugardalslaug around 11.30pm and the line reached all the way out to the parking lot. There were definitely 200-300 people in the lineup,” he told RÚV reporters last night.
The decision to open Reykjavík pools at midnight was announced by the city’s mayor Dagur B. Eggertsson on his Facebook page on Friday. The decision to open the pools so early, Dagur explained, was made in order to ensure that pools are able to operate at half capacity, as COVID-19 precautions require, while also providing the chance to take a dip to as many people as possible.