WILMINGTON, MA — After announcing earlier this month that Wilmington’s Town Beach would be closed this summer due to COVID-19, Town Manager Jeff Hull has reversed course and will allow for the beach to be open, BUT only if the town can recruit a sufficient number of lifeguards.
“In light of Governor Baker’s recent limited opening of beaches, the Town will make one last effort to recruit qualified lifeguards to work at the beach during the summer of 2020,” Hull told Selectmen in a memo on Tuesday night. “Advertising will take place the week of May 26th with a deadline for responses of June 12, 2020.”
Hull urged individuals who are certified lifeguards and are interested, or know of certified lifeguards, to contact Wilmington Recreation Director Karen Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 978-658-4270. The job posting can be read HERE.
“In order to provide a safe environment, 15 to 20 lifeguards are needed given that the summer beach program operates from 10am to 8pm, seven days per week, between June and August,” noted Hull. “When communications began in February with prospective lifeguards, 10 [returning lifeguards] expressed interest. Recruitment for lifeguards extended from January 6, 2020 through May 12, 2020, resulting in a total of one [new] person expressing interest. This individual, however, did not have their certification and programs for certification are closed indefinitely due to COVID-19.”
Hull noted that the 10 returning lifeguards were recently told to they could start looking for other summer employment after the town initially decided to cancel the summer beach season. Coupled with COVID-19, Hull is uncertain how many of those 10 lifeguards will, in fact, return. Recreation Director Karen Campbell has begun reaching out to these lifeguards and has only heard back from 4 as of Tuesday night.
Hull added that, due to COVID-19, lifeguards must not only be monitoring people in the water, but also monitoring people on the beach to ensure social distancing or, in cases where that is not possible, the wearing of masks. He noted social distancing requirements for groups is 12 feet, according to a directive from the state.
“These requirements will increase the number of personnel required to be monitoring activities while at the same time reducing the number of people permitted on the beach at any one time,” continued Hull. “Addressing these issues will pose a serious challenge for the Recreation Director and the personnel, most of whom are in the teens or early twenties.”
Selectmen supported Hull’s decision to make a last ditch attempt to recruit more lifeguards and save the 2020 Town Beach season. The suggestion was initially made by Selectman Jonathan Eaton.
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