COVID-19 Advisory

28 Adar 5780

March 24, 2020

 

Dear Lower Merion Community Mikvah Users,

 

Our highest priority is ensuring that attending the mikvah is a safe, secure, and healthy experience for all women, including users and attendants. We are similarly committed to slowing the spread of COVID-19 in the community. In addition to our established guidelines, we are immediately implementing updated protocols in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These have been prepared and approved by local medical experts and are consistent with the best practices of community Mikvaos throughout North America. The Halachic implications of these changes have been approved by the community Rabbonim.

 

We recognize that these changes represent a change from the normal routine of the Mikvah experience. We are here to answer your questions and address any concerns that you may have. We are here to support you.

          

The Mikvah attendants and staff are following a detailed and extensive set of guidelines. The following points summarize these guidelines for our Mikvah users:

 

  1. All Mikvah staff and users will be screened before being allowed to enter the Mikvah (see screening questions below). Only women who are symptom-free may use the Mikvah. If you are symptom-free but have been exposed to someone with the virus, you may not use the Mikvah for 14 days following that exposure. If you have returned from out of the country in the past 14 days or have been ordered to be under self-quarantine for any other reason, you may not use the Mikvah.
  2. The Mikvah will be operating on a Friday night protocol. All preparations must be completed at home before coming to the Mikvah.
  3. Appointments must be scheduled to allow proper spacing of appointments to minimize exposure. 
  4. Upon arrival to the Mikvah parking lot, the user must call the receptionist (484-808-5626, extension 2) for screening (even if previously completed online when the appointment was scheduled). The receptionist will notify the user when it is time for her appointment. We appreciate your patience and understanding during this period of enhanced screening.
  5. To minimize contamination, all users should leave their pocketbooks and other unnecessary items at home or in their cars. Please pay for your mikvah visit in advance by sending $30 to office@lmcmikvah.org via PayPal or on our website. Bedika cloths should be paid for with the payment for appointments or by sending $3 per package via PayPal to office@lmcmikvah.org. No cash or credit card transactions should take place at the mikvah.
  6. Users will be directed to a freshly-sanitized preparation room to change for Tevila. No showers or baths are permitted at the Mikvah under any circumstances.
  7. Preparation rooms will be used only once each night; in the rare event that the volume exceeds the available prep rooms, the on-site staff will fully clean and disinfect any room that will need to be reused. No user will be allowed to use a preparation room that has not been fully cleaned and disinfected.
  8. Every user must bring 2 of her own laundered towels and a robe for use at the Mikvah. (The second towel will be used in place of the bathmat in front of the Mikvah pool.)  No towels or robes will be provided. The Mikvah will continue to provide individually-packaged, single-use, disposable slippers.
  9. Every user must wash her hands with antibacterial soap before coming to the Mikvah. It is critical that she washes them thoroughly again in the prep room before entering the Mikvah pool for immersion.
  10. Mikvah attendants will wear gloves at all times and will perform handwashing and put on a fresh pair between users.  At the current time, there is no need for masks for asymptomatic individuals. A six-foot distance will be maintained between all women.
  11. The attendant will alternate the use of the two immersion rooms to allow the cleaning staff to disinfect the room and for adequate circulation of chemicals in the Mikvah water between users.
  12. All users should check their own hands and feet thoroughly prior to entering the Mikvah pool. The Mikvah attendant can check your back from a distance to ensure that there are no stray hairs, dirt, etc. Direct contact (i.e. personal touch) between the Mikvah Attendant and users is absolutely prohibited.
  13. All laundry must be taken home with the user. Bags will be provided for transport of wet linens. No personal property is to remain at the Mikvah. Any property left at the Mikvah will be discarded.
  14. Although not usually Halachically advised, during the current pandemic, it is permissible for a woman to shower when arriving home if she desires. 
  15. All users are strongly encouraged to wash their hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap before leaving the prep room to return home. The netilas yadayim sink at the building exit will not be available for use.
  16. For Friday night usage, please maintain a safe distance between users if you arrive before the mikvah attendant. The attendant will bring all women into the building and will immediately send you to your sanitized prep room. Women should not wait for one another to leave the mikvah to walk home.
  17. All of the mikvah pools are filtered and brominated, and chemical levels are checked daily to ensure the safety of the water. According to the CDC, no traces of COVID-19 have been detected in drinking water, and there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to humans through pools or hot tubs. Proper operation, maintenance, and disinfection will remove or inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19. For more information, visit the CDC website.

Thank you for your diligence in following the above protocols for the safety of our entire community. It is our hope that strict adherence will protect from further spread of COVID-19 and the need to implement more draconian measures. In the zchut of our very own nashim tzidkaniyot, may our community merit redemption during these challenging times, and we pray to Hashem to swiftly fulfill His promise of Va’Hasirosi Machala m’Kirbecha â€“ And I will remove illness from your midst.

 

Please contact Mrs. Carly Chodosh (office@lmcmikvah.org) if you have any further questions or concerns.

 

Adina Shmidman and Dvasha Stollman, Co-Chairs, Mikvah Board

Carly Chodosh, Mikvah Director

 

 

Screening questions:

  1. During the last 14 days, have you had contact with anyone who has lab-confirmed COVID-19, is under investigation for COVID-19, or is hospitalized or being treated at home for a respiratory or febrile illness?
  2. Have you had any of the following symptoms in the past 14 days?

○       Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher?

○      Cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat?

○      Pneumonia/flu symptoms?

  1. Have you traveled outside of the US in the last 14 days?
Anyone who answers “yes” to any of the above questions may not enter the Mikvah facility under any circumstances. Questions should be addressed to Mrs. Carly Chodosh, Mikvah Director (office@lmcmikvah.org) for review by medical advisors.


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