CHICAGO (CBS) — Typically crews in Chicago would be spending these days before Memorial Day getting ready to reopen swimming pools, but this is not a typical year. There is still no start date for pools to open, and beaches remain closed indefinitely.
But it is creating at least one booming business: backyard pools. Fill them up, and you can fill a whole day’s worth of activity. Ask many parents and they will label that as priceless.
The cupboard of creativity is running bare for parents like Lori Sapio and her three little ones.
“We’ve done the chalk, we’ve done the bubbles, we’ve done the drive-by, we’ve done the balloons,” she said. “There’s no other fad that can keep our kids busy, and there’s no playgrounds available.”
No one is walking or running to neighborhood pools these days, and with beaches, ball games and summer camps scrapped, parents shift online.
“I was trying on Amazon. There was nothing,” she said. “I was trying Kmart, Walmart, Target. The things were like $2,000.”
Backyard pools are sold out on Home Depot’s website.
While sneeze guards are the number one hot American consumer item, Google trends shows swimming pools are number four, with searches up 200% in recent months. And the industry has doubled down on health attributes.
“Our members are telling us that people are canceling their summer vacations plans and asking if they can create their backyard oasis,” said Sabeen Hickman with the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance.
Backyard trampolines are also hot, with Amazon delivery dates pushed back well into July.
Sapio’s pool finally arrived Monday.
“They’re going to be in it every day,” she said.
After hours of searching, it cost her $300 on Amazon — the price of keeping them busy.
There is no word from Chicago’s mayor on dates for pools or beaches to reopen. Both are closed through the end of the month at least.
In ground pools are not essential construction and are not going in right now, but there is evidence that while there is a tighter economy, inquiries are coming in quite quickly in other states.