Municipal pools prepare for summer in spite of coronavirus, possible lifeguard shortage

Written by on April 26, 2021

 Municipal pools prepare for summer in spite of coronavirus, possible lifeguard shortage

By Hayden Mitman

April 26, 2021

Photo by Pexels

With more people vaccinated every day, it looks like municipal pools, which were shuttered since the start of the pandemic, will be open to help people beat the heat this summer. 

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But a lifeguard shortage could impact reopenings.

Many pools in Allentown, Bethlehem, and Hellertown expect to open in mid-June with some notable changes in place. Officials say they plan to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines when the pools open. 

“We don’t yet have the full instructions on what we need to do to stay safe. We’d still need to do some enhanced cleaning techniques. But we do think we can open,” says Eric Evans, business administrator for the City of Bethlehem. 

The city expects to limit pools to 75% maximum occupancy, he says.

But a shortage of lifeguards may mean that Bethlehem might open only two of its five public pools this summer, he says. 

“Last year, in March, we had 84 lifeguards, our full force, to staff our pools, this year we have 24. So it’s a huge dropoff,” Evans says.  

Unless more lifeguards sign up, the only pools Bethlehem will definitely open this year are Yasko Park Pool and the newly renovated Memorial Park Pool, which is reopening after three years. 

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