In this season of widespread concern about the coronavirus, the National Capital Mikvah would like to share with you some information about our policies and procedures.
Updated procedures at the mikvah:
- Mikvah Water: Our mikvah pool is chlorinated, and the water is filtered for hours each day. We have recently increased our chlorination levels to ensure that our water is more than adequately chlorinated to kill viruses and bacteria. Chlorine levels are checked every two days and are kept high.
- Mikvah Cleaning: Our mikvah facility is given regular complete professional cleanings. In addition, high-touch surfaces are wiped down with antibacterial spray after each user.
- Disposable Supplies: Only disposable supplies will be offered at the mikvah until further notice.
Updated procedures for tovlot:
- Hand Washing: We request that all tovlot and shomrot wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water upon arrival at the mikvah and before departing the mikvah. The CDC recommends washing for at least 20 seconds, including under the nails.
- No Showers or Baths: We request that all tovlot complete ALL of the mikvah preparations at home, including all bathing and showering. All preparation supplies have now been removed from the bathrooms, and the mikvah’s showers are not to be used.
- Bring your own linens: All tovlot are requested to bring their own bathrobe and/or towel. Only disposable supplies will be used at the mikvah until further notice; tovlot will be provided with disposable slippers and a disposable bath mat in the prep room.
- Social Distancing: Please remain a 6 foot distance away from your attendant. The attendant will no longer be able to check your body for chatzitzot. You may choose to immerse without an attendant, or to immerse with an attendant in the room. The attendant will turn her back as you enter the water, and you will tell her when you are ready to immerse.
- Immunocompromised Users: Our mikvah is not a busy one, and it is not in use every night. However, if you are immunocompromised and wish to be the first user of an evening, or not to be in the facility at the same time as another tovelet, please indicate this to your scheduler.
- Cancellation of Mikvah Appointments: Please cancel your mikvah appointment if you are not feeling well, or if you are experiencing symptoms such as cough, fever, and shortness of breath, in accordance with CDC guidance found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/symptoms.html. If you are cancelling with less than 24 hours notice, please contact the emergency number indicated in your original scheduling e-mail.
- Please obey all government directives, and if you are directed to self-quarantine, please do not come to the mikvah.
The NCM’s current procedures are informed by guidance published by Nishmat and the Eden Center.
A useful halachic guide to the observance of taharat hamishpacha during the coronavirus epidemic is found at Nishmat.
Although this guide is directed at the situation in Israel, the guidance for the United States is much the same. Please direct halachic questions to your trusted halachic advisor.