Amid a nationwide shortage of trained lifeguards, officials in suburban Evanston say that one of the city’s beaches will likely remain closed for the remainder of the summer.
According to officials, Greenwood Street Beach is expected to be closed for the end of the year, with city officials aiming to ensure adequate staffing at the other five swimming beaches in the community.
“The safety of visitors and staff is our top priority as we work to provide exceptional lakefront recreation opportunities this summer,” Parks and Recreation Director Audrey Thompson said in a statement. “Our team has focused on retaining and recruiting USLA-certified lifeguards committed to a culture of safety, accountability and trust.”
Evanston officials say that city-run South Boulevard Beach, Lee Street Beach, Clark Street Beach and Lighthouse Beach are all expected to remain open, and will be fully-staffed.
Lincoln Street Beach, which is operated by Northwestern, will also remain open.
Officials say that residents can check the status of area beaches daily on the city’s website.
Communities across the country have been impacted by the shortage of lifeguards, with concerns over wages and the COVID-19 pandemic both sharing blame for hiring challenges.
In numerous cities, including Chicago, pools and beaches are being forced to alter their hours or to close entirely due to the lack of lifeguards, with some spots in the United States resorting to allowing swimming areas to go without on-duty lifeguards.
According to the Associated Press, the shortage is impacting approximately one-third of pools in the United States, and the problem could get even worse in August when students return to school.
In Chicago and elsewhere, retention bonuses and other offers are being made to entice lifeguards to go through training and to stay working in their communities through the summer.