UPDATE: The Spa Castle pools reopen through a stringent safety agreement with the city

Photo: Spa Castle

College Point’s Spa Castle, which was forced to shut down its pools in February, reopened them last month after it implemented a new safety plan.

The luxury Korean complex at 131-10 11th Ave. in Queens met requirements set out by the Department of Health and signed an agreement that allows the department to “intervene swiftly” if the establishment fails to comply with any of the safety measures.

Spa Castle was forced to close all its spa pools in February as the result of a special probe on the facility’s safety features. In February, a 6-year-old girl nearly drowned in a pool after her hair got stuck in a vent.

A source said that investigators determined that alterations had been made to two spa pools without previous health department approval and inspection. Authorities ordered immediate closure of the pools. However, according to a Spa Castle spokesperson, the alterations cited by the department had nothing to do with the pool where the accident occurred.

The Department of Health tells QNS that Spa Castle was granted a permission to re-open on April 22 after they complied with department’s conditions.

“[T]he establishment has undergone a rigorous process to correct violations and has met our requirement to implement a new safety plan,” the department said in a statement. “The Health Department has also required Spa Castle to sign an agreement that will allow us to intervene swiftly, if the establishment fails to comply with our safety requirements. We will continue monitoring the pools and performing frequent inspections to protect the safety of people who visit this spa.”

In order to reopen, Spa Castle had to meet several conditions established by the department, including correction of all violations, proof of certification and training of staff in the new safety plan, demonstration of sufficient staffing levels, the passage of a full inspection, and the adherence to all Health Code engineering requirements.

All pools are now supervised by lifeguards according to a statement made by Spa Castle on their Facebook page.

Queens state Senator Tony Avella praised the city for taking this action but warned that Spa Castle has already proven to be unreliable and should not be trusted follow the safety protocols, suggesting that more oversight is needed to prevent future incidents: “Spa Castle has been at the center of several controversies. I commend [the department] for having Spa Castle overhaul its safety protocol before allowing it to reopen, but we should not and cannot expect that Spa Castle will suddenly self-police itself in the absence of oversight.”

Spa Castle’s spokesperson said in a statement, “We have worked with the Health Department for many months and endured a closure that put 150 employees out of work at enormous cost to their families. We have agreed to brand-new restrictions that have been selectively applied to Spa Castle and to no other similar spa facilities in the city of New York. We welcome all efforts to improve safety and will continue to provide a destination that our guests can rely on. We ask only that such safety measures be applied fairly and across the board.”

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