Beckley, WV (WOAY)- Since reopening for the summer, Beckley pools have regularly shut down due to a shortage of lifeguards. As a result, the City of Beckley announced that the Sharon Dempsey pool will be closed this Friday and Saturday. This weekend will be the second weekend in a row that one or both pools have been closed.
The city of Beckley owns the Black Knight Country Club and Sharon Dempsey swimming facilities. However, the management company USA Pools is responsible for staffing and scheduling the pool’s lifeguards. In April, the Beckley Common Council approved a $130,000 contract with USA Pools to manage and operate facilities from May 28 to September 5.
Hiring lifeguards has been an ongoing issue affecting pools throughout the United States due to the COVID 19 pandemic. The cancellation of lifeguard training courses, expiring certifications, and opportunities to change careers have led to the shortage. The American Lifeguard Association estimates that shortages have impacted one-third of US pools resulting in closings nationwide, and predicts that the shortage will continue through next year.