Coronavirus presents a challenge to lifeguards as beaches reopen

Posted at 2:59 PM, May 15, 2020

Lifeguards are making changes to how they do their job as beaches reopen or make reopening plans.

They already typically have sunglasses or some type of eye protection, and they use gloves. But now, masks and social distancing will be part of their job too.

The one place they say it will be difficult to reduce contact is with water rescues. Wearing a mask to do those isn't really an option.

They're asking anyone going to the beach to have an extra focus on safety, which will keep lifeguards safe and cut down on interactions.

Another issue right now is getting lifeguards hired.

“You're going to have to prove to that lifeguard and probably that lifeguard's parents that you're taking every step to protect them while they're on the job,” said Thomas Gill, Vice President of the United States Lifesaving Association.

Gill says if you can prove that, the demand is there. During the last recession and for a few years after that, he says it wasn't hard to recruit lifeguards because people needed jobs, which he expects to be the case now too.

They've changed testing and training to make sure they can be socially distant, but it's more of a challenge with brand new guards who require the most training.