Two-year-old Fiona Norato was scheduled to take swimming lessons every week this summer and practice with her family in a local lake.
Those plans have been turned on their head by the coronavirus pandemic as community pools face an uncertain summer and family gatherings have become discouraged. Not wanting her daughter to miss valuable swimming lessons, Jennifer Norato decided to install a pool in the back yard of her butler house.
The family bought a small pool in a large store and Fiona has already used a lot of it despite the cool spring, Norato said.
“My husband was determined not to have a pool by then,” Norato said, but the pandemic changed things.
The Noratos are not alone. Pool store owners told NJ Advance Media that installation requests have skyrocketed as families look to canceled vacations, closed summer camps, and nowhere the kids to go.
Sheri Neuberger, the office manager of Metro Pools in Kinnelon, said requests for new pools in the ground had been received. They usually do around 30 pools per season, but so far they have received around 1,000 requests for one price.
“A lot of the calls I’ve got say our city pool is closed or they don’t know what to do with the kids, they’ll be bored, so I think that’s a big part of it,” Neuberger said .
A backyard renovation with an in-ground pool can cost anywhere from $ 45,000 to $ 75,000 and it can take up to two months to get approved, installed and operated, Neuberger said, but that hasn’t discouraged homeowners. She believes some customers are diverting funds from canceled vacations and summer camps to fund pools.
“Even if you tell them that the pool won’t be ready until July and August, they say:” Well, we don’t care, we want it, “Neuberger.
Scott Clark of Somertime Pool and Spa in Millville said requests for above-ground pools had increased by about 30% in the past few weeks. He states that families get their stimulus checks and that it is easy to sell a pool over the phone.
Professionally installed above-ground pools are significantly cheaper than their in-ground pools, averaging $ 3,500-5,000. You also have a much shorter waiting time; Clark says he can set up an above-ground pool in a backyard in about a week.
“It’s easier for the above-ground pools and a lot more people can afford it,” said Clark.
But not all aspects of the business were floating, Clark said. Chemical and pool toy sales have declined significantly, possibly because customers can get the same chemicals in large stores that remain open for in-store purchases, Clark said.
Some customers also wait longer for their pools to start while others open earlier than usual, Clark said.
Families are likely to look to have pools partially installed to avoid the beach or public pools, Neuberger said.
There’s no evidence that the coronavirus can spread via chlorinated pool water, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention says standard pool chemicals would be effective in killing the virus. However, it’s not clear whether the virus can survive in salt water or how easily it can spread in the air outside.
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