Soak sorry, we're still closed
Amidst alleviated health orders, Saratoga Hobo Pool remains closed due to social distancing requirements
May 27, 2020
For more than two months, regular users of the Saratoga Hot Pool, or Hobo Pool, haven’t been able to soak in the geothermal mineral waters of the longtime fixture. Following recommendations from Carbon County Public Health Officer Wayne Couch, the hot pool was closed to the public and the not-so-hot pool was drained.
As restrictions have been eased at both the county and state levels, questions have been asked on social media as to if the hot pool was open. Additionally, organizations such as the Saratoga/Platte Valley Chamber of Commerce, Saratoga Branch Library and Saratoga Town Hall have received calls asking about the pool’s status. In some cases, those calling were less than understanding when informed that the hot pool was closed.
“We could actually open it,” said Mayor John Zeiger. “We’ve been told we could open it if we could guarantee that social distancing was enforced, that handrails would be wiped down every 15-20 minutes, that we kept the dressing rooms closed.”
According to Zeiger, it is estimated that a maximum of nine people in the hot pool would ensure that social distancing requirements were being followed. However, it would also require the hot pool to be manned around the clock. While the swimming pool has regular operating hours, the hot pool and not-so-hot pool have historically operated on a 24-hour basis.
“I’d like to have it open just as much as the next guy but I have to respect those requirements that have been put on us. By Title 35, (the) health officer has every right to close public places during this type of situation. I have to respect that,” Zeiger said.
In some instances, phone calls from disgruntled would-be soakers have claimed a constitutional right to soak in the pools or have called the health orders unconstitutional.
“It’s not up to me to decide if it’s unconstitutional or not. It’s not up to the council to decide if it’s unconstitutional,” said Zeiger. “That’s going to have to be a court decision. Just be patient. We’ll open it as soon as we can.”
While the hot pool and not-so-hot pool are closed, one area that Zeiger believes the Town of Saratoga cannot close or does not have the authority to close is the drain out into the river. In the past, in low water months, the banks of the North Platte River near the hot pool have had small pools formed with rocks.
“We can’t close the river,” Zeiger said. “We can’t close where it runs out.”
For the time being, those wishing to soak in the mineral heavy geothermal waters of the Saratoga Hobo Pool will have to continue to wait either for further easement of health orders or for low water.