AP PHOTOS: Splash! Virus spawns portable pool fad in Spain

National News

Ricardo D’hont swims in a neighbors plastic portable pool in Seville, Spain on Aug.11, 2020. The owners of the pool said that “Due to the coronavirus we couldn’t go to the beach or to other pools. If we hadn’t been in pandemic we would never bought a plastic pool”. (AP Photo/ Laura Leon)

SEVILLE, Spain (AP) — As pretty much everywhere else, the coronavirus pandemic has meant more time at home for Spaniards. For many of those furloughed or out of business it has also meant less income and no way to afford a vacation to escape the sweltering temperatures of the Spanish summer.

Searching for a solution to keep cool, portable pools have become the newest fad, taking over backyards, terraces, communal patios and even the streets of Seville in the country’s south.

Sales of all portable pools, including the cheapest inflatable models, started this year as early as May, when Spain was still in the middle of a strict lockdown and few feared that their summer would mean they would be confined at home. By June, most models had sold out from shopping malls and online websites.

Javier Salcedo, a 44-year-old construction manager in Seville, decided to purchase a sturdy model, a quality pool with plastic walls, but had to find it in the second-hand market. In hindsight, he’s happy he didn’t wait anymore.

“It was easy to see,” he said. “Public pools or private clubs were closed and the rest of the plans for the summer were up in the air.”

But few own a private yard like Salcedo’s in Sevilla, where thermometers that often hit the 40 C (104 F) mark can see even higher temperatures during heat waves.

Isabel, a 30-year-old who raises four children in one of the Seville’s poorest neighborhoods, bought an inflatable pool especially to make the heat more bearable for a son who has Down syndrome.

“I have no other place to put it but in the street,” she said. “It’s horrible to live in these precarious circumstances.”

With more than 377,000 total infections for the new virus and close to 29,000 confirmed deaths, Spain is trying to contain one of Europe’s most severe coronavirus outbreaks. In two months since ending a strict lockdown, the country has recorded close to 132,000 new infections.

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