HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) – Worker shortages continue as the world reopens following the coronavirus pandemic.
Most restrictions in Virginia are expected to be lifted on Friday ahead of Memorial Day weekend. But staffing shortages are still expected to impact your typical pool day.
Many people are looking forward to getting out this summer and having fun in the sun.
One business leader believes that may be the reason behind their current lifeguard shortage.
“I’m hoping that if these kids have some fun during the summer after school lets out … they realize that’s … a lot more fun with some money in their pocket,” said Jim Durkee, vice president of AAA Pool Services.
He says he needs to fill several lifeguard positions.
“Normally we would be sitting at about 200 lifeguards on staff right now and we are at about 75,” he said.
The shortage he is seeing will impact how they operate the 50 pools they service.
“A lot of pools are going to open on rotational schedule, where they’ll be open for some period of time, like a week, and then perhaps closed for a week or two weeks. And even when they are open, there might be times we have to close off sections of the pool because we don’t have enough lifeguards to safely staff them,” he said.
Notes have already been sent out to some of the community pools.
“For us it’s going to make for a very challenging summer, not only for us but for our customers,” he said.
But the shortage is not impacting all businesses so harshly.
H2OBX says they’ve been able to staff for the most part but are still looking for extra help.
‘We’re just going to continue to allow for flexibility with our staff and be sure that we can accommodate that. I’d say that’s something that we pride ourselves on a lot of our lifeguards being teenagers and in college and various age groups that they are also needing some flexibility in their schedules,” said Wendy Murray.
Durkee said he is adding incentives to his already free training program.
“Increase pay and weekly bonuses based on the number of hours worked to try to draw people back into the labor market,” he said