European Waterpark Association calls for a significant reduction in the corona-related restrictions in waterparks and public pools- Alarming number of drowning deaths at rivers and lakes

The President of the European Waterpark Association e.V., Upper Austria’s Economic State Minister Markus Achleitner, observes with great concern the increase in drown-ing deaths in European rivers and lakes. The European Waterpark Association is therefore calling for a significant reduction in the corona-related restrictions in water-parks, leisure pools and spas to enable more people to bathe and swim in a safe environment: “Many natural bathing places in the countryside are neither monitored nor do they have the necessary infrastructure to cope with the rush of visitors,” says Achleitner, explaining the reason for his concern. In addition to the risk of drowning, this also results in a growing burden on the environment due to a lack of sanitary fa-cilities and wild garbage-“disposal”.
The managing director of the European Waterpark Association, Dr. Klaus Batz, also fears a further increase in fatalities: “Many of these bathing sites harbor dangers that visitors are unable to recognize, and bathing bans are often ignored”. Even before the COVID 19 pandemic, a serious difference between the risks at open waters and in public baths had become apparent: “In the 2019 season, in which there were no closures of public pools, only 11 people drowned in public baths in the Federal Re-public of Germany, for example, but 358 persons drowned at rivers, lakes and in the sea,” Batz quotes a survey by the German Lifesaving Society (DLRG).
The federation of the European waterparks appeals therefore to the policy to permit a brisker and more comprehensive opening of the public pools. Limits on the number of visitors and the obligation to register or to purchase tickets in advance lead to potential guests seeking out bathing places in the countryside, which results in corre-sponding burdens on nature and risks to life and limb. In waterparks and public baths, on the other hand, guests can rely on comprehensive hygiene and safety concepts.