Cooling off

Aaliyah Adams, 13, center, talks to her friend, LaTiana Adams, 13, left, as her sister, Kiara Adams, 12, splashes in the Great Mills Swimming Pool on Saturday. The pool reopened for the first time since it closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Pool staff are allowing up to 75 people at a time during two time slots per day, with reservations required.

As the state enters into the second phase of its Roadmap for Recovery, businesses and local activities are becoming increasingly available during the coronavirus pandemic. With the holiday weekend on its way, many are taking extra precautions to protect themselves and others while still offering services.

The Great Mills Swimming Pool opened Saturday for recreational swimming after months of closure due to the pandemic, Arthur Shepherd, director of the department of recreation and parks, told The Enterprise. The pool will be scheduling use for lap swimming, exercise and aqua aerobics and is open to St. Mary’s County residents only.

To maintain capacity amidst the pandemic, reservations must be made online. For more information, visit Pool staff are allowing up to 75 people at a time during two time slots per day; once all spots are reserved for each time slot, no more people will be allowed in.

Reservations can also be made by contacting the recreation and parks main office at 301-475-4200, ext. 71800.

According to the St. Mary’s government website, payment will be made when an individual arrives for their reservation at the pool. Payment will not be taken in advance. Reservation requests will close an hour before the reservation time slot and the pool will close between reservation times in order for staff to properly sanitize all surfaces and clean restrooms.

“We were the first ones here,” LaTiana Adams, 13, of Lexington Park said Saturday morning while splashing in the pool with her friends, Aaliyah Adams, 13, and Kiara Adams, 12. As the song “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” by The Police played over the loudspeakers, the friends said they hope to come to the pool at least once a week through the summer, or as often as they can afford it.

St. Mary’s County Library branches have been closed to the public since the beginning of the pandemic, but book drops are now open and curbside pickup of items put on hold are available. Summer reading programs are in full swing, albeit virtually this summer. Visit or call 301-884-2211, 301-475-2846 or 301-863-8188 for more information.

Although this may limit some people’s access to books and other reading materials, Fenwick Street Used Books and Music in Leonardtown reopened its doors June 5, the weekend Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced retail stores could resume business. Owned by Jodie Brouwer and her daughter, Kelly Brouwer, since August of last year, the store is taking a few precautions to help customers feel safe.

Kelly Brouwer shared with The Enterprise over the weekend that it is sometimes difficult to monitor who is touching what, with people coming in browsing books.

“Customers have started doing self-policing,” she said, and explained to avoid touching books in the store, many will use their phones to find out more about a title they see and are potentially interested in purchasing.

“Lots of cleaning takes place,” Kelly Brouwer said, especially at the checkout counter where most interactions in the store occur. While the two owners keep an eye on how many people are in the store at one time, there usually isn’t a need to set limits.

“If a big group comes in, we’ll close off the store” to allow enough space for customers to follow social-distancing guidelines, she mentioned.

While the business accepts donated books, all donations are quarantined for two weeks, according to Kelly Brouwer, to be sure they are free of any potential traces of the virus before they are available to buy.

“A lot of people are stuck at home and running out of things to do … people will come in and buy $300 worth of books” in case there is another COVID-19 surge, the co-owner said. “We also sell records, which have been flying off the shelves.”

Although movie theaters have not yet been given permission to open in Maryland, the two in the county, R/C Theaters in California and AMC Theaters in Lexington Park, are preparing their facilities for public use and announced tentative open dates during mid-July, based on lifting of state and county restrictions.

Going to the movies may not be an option for residents quite yet, but many have taken advantage of the reopening of Action Lounge and Billiards, also located in Leonardtown. The pool hall reopened June 19, according to manager Keith Griffith. Since then, they’ve been sanitizing “more than ever before,” he said. High touch areas such as the jukebox and the change machine get cleaned every thirty minutes and the pool tables, balls and sticks get sanitized after every use.

Griffith said they have a lot of space, especially after some renovations which took place while they were closed that added square footage to the front of the business.

All tables are spaced at least 6 feet apart and some are “even spaced eight feet apart,” he mentioned.

Although they “have nothing special planned” for the upcoming Fourth of July holiday weekend, they want people to know they are back open and “when people are ready to give them a chance, we’d love to see them,” he said.

Twitter: @MadisonEntNews

Twitter: @MadisonEntNews