Salt Lake County pools reopen amid a lifeguard shortage, stress importance of water safety

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Salt Lake County outdoor public pools are preparing to open this Memorial Day weekend for the first time since the pandemic forced them closed a year ago.

Salt Lake County and Recreation says managing COVID-19 and a lifeguard shortage has been challenging.

This summer, be sure to pack the pool essentials, swimsuit, towel, and sunblock, but you can leave the masks at home.

“We are really excited to have everyone back in the pools with fewer restrictions,” Aquatics Manager Joshua Reusser tells ABC4.

Steiner Aquatic Center in Salt Lake is the first outdoor pool in Salt Lake County to reopen. All other outdoor pools will reopen throughout Memorial Day weekend.

The county manages 18 total indoor and outdoor pools and says hiring lifeguards is especially challenging this summer.

“Lots of staffing challenging when reopening. With staffing challenges nationwide, lifeguarding is not exempt,” Reusser says. “Reintroducing people to water safety, we have been away from water lessons and swim lessons for a long time.”

According to the National Safety Council, drowning is the second leading cause of injury or death among children under the age of 15.

As lifeguards are spread thin this summer, parents and adults must be extra vigilant.

“Parents should always be more vigilant there are some many dangers associated with water,” Reusser says.

If you can’t swim, always wear a life jacket and never swim alone, and don’t forget to wear sunscreen.

“Sometimes we forget when we are not in swimming lessons, when we are not around pools, of the dangers associated with water,” Reusser explains.

You can see the county openings for lifeguards, swim instructors, and more here.

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