Closures of public pools, on-going fears of Coronavirus lead to new trend – outdoor cocooning at home
The pool-building business is booming here in the St. Louis metro area. But it’s not just pools that people are craving. The closures of many outdoor aquatic centers due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis has many families wanting to create an outdoor experience that can be enjoyed by the entire family and that extends beyond the pool.
“Cocooning” the term coined by Faith Popcorn back in 1981 that referred to the need to protect oneself from the harsh, unpredictable realities of the outside world, has now moved outside the home itself.
Traditionally, the pool season in St. Louis begins on Memorial Day and ends on Labor Day. But that’s strictly for public facilities. With the benefit of pool heaters, many families are enjoying their pools from April well into October. And with more emphasis being put on building outdoor living enhancements like covered kitchens, spas, fire pits and sculptured gardens, the outdoor oasis has made the whole concept of cocooning at home much more palatable throughout the year.
According to John Jacobsen, president of Liquid Assets Pools, “we never anticipated that demand would go up once the pandemic hit.”
Jacobsen believes this is a trend that is just beginning. “Customers are telling us they don’t want to deal with the uncertainty of public or country club pools. The potential for contacting the Coronavirus, combined with the restricted limitations that the facilities that actually have opened have swayed many families to move toward having their own outdoor oasis,” said Jacobsen.
Here in the St. Louis metro area, six aquatic centers have closed for the season. Those that are open are limiting their number of guests and many have eliminated or reduced their food service offerings. Some country clubs have also closed their pools for the season.
Many are wondering if the new norm that has resulted from the Coronavirus might go beyond this pool season.
“Having your own outdoor pool and entertainment area helps re-establish a sense of being in control and removes a lot of uncertainty,” said Jacobsen. “Besides that, it can be a lot more fun for the whole family.”
“Nobody knows the long-term effects the Coronavirus will have on family vacations or large group gatherings,” added Jacobsen. “But we do know the long-term effects of having a pool and all that can go with it are a lot of fun memories, just waiting to be made.”