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Citing lifeguard shortage, Guilford County postpones pool openings

Guilford County said pools at three public parks will not open on Memorial Day weekend due to a lack of lifeguards.

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — Guilford County is postponing the opening of its public pools due to a shortage of lifeguards. 

The county is not opening pools at Bur-Mil Park, Northeast Park, and Hagan-Stone Park over Memorial Day weekend due to staffing shortages.

“I don’t think it is a secret that businesses continue to see a slow return to work post-pandemic which carries across to our government positions. Unfortunately, the county is not immune to the phenomena that we are seeing similar to bus driver shortages, restaurant shortages, nursing shortages, etc. These shortages impact our ability to provide services,” said Guilford County Parks Department Director Dwight Godwin in a press release.

Officials with Wet N' Wild Emerald Pointe Water Park in Greensboro said, while they are staffed, hiring can still be a struggle post-pandemic. 

"We are saying the lingering effects of the pandemic," said Kaylah Macauley with Wet N' Wild. "We would usually get a plethora of applications and we are not seeing that same level of applications coming in or they are coming in at a slower pace."

Wet N' Wild trains its lifeguard candidates on-site, providing them with the proper certifications if they meet the requirements. Guilford County said they'd like their applicants to already be certified but could provide training to the "right candidate."

"We are fortunate in that we have a lot of lifeguards that come back," said Mccauley. "We start trying to recruit right away (in) October, November. "(Our) season ends in September."

RELATED: Wet 'n Wild Emerald Pointe prepares for opening day of the 2022 season

McCauley also said there can be some misconceptions about being a lifeguard. 

"I think the perception of being a lifeguard is sitting in a chair and getting a suntan and that it’s easy," she said, "But I think what people don’t realize is there is so much hard work that goes into becoming a lifeguard and then the responsibility that they have of people lives in their hands."

Guilford County plans to open its pools on June 11, but may have limited capacity or date restrictions based on the number of new hires.

Greensboro Parks and Recreation pools are open with the exception of Warnersville and Windsor, which are closed due to mechanical concerns.

You can apply for a lifeguard position with Guilford County here

“We are actively working with the department to fill all of our lifeguard and pool positions,” said Erris Dunston, Assistant County Manager for Strong Communities in a press release. “We are continuing to encourage the public to visit our county website for these much-needed seasonal employment opportunities."

RELATED: Carolina officials share water safety tips

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