Heatwave puts stress on under-staffed Midstate pools


(WHTM) — A heatwave is a great time to head to a pool. But that’s not possible in parts of the Midstate as some public pools just aren’t open.

“We’ve had to reduce hours to try and accommodate. We still want to keep open and available to the public as we can but with those staffing shortages, we have to make sure we can do it safely so we had to reduce our hours so we’re primarily operating Fridays, Saturdays, and Sunday,” Lancaster County Parks and Recreation Administrator Paul Weiss said.

County pools across Lancaster are struggling with lifeguards and they’re definitely not alone. “Everybody has had difficulty hiring, particularly seasonal employees this summer, a COIVD carry-over,” Weiss said.

The pandemic is a factor in both Harrisburg’s city pools, which haven’t yet opened as planned. A spokesperson says they have a shortage of certified lifeguards because of COVID. They’ll open the pools once they can guarantee safety, but don’t have a date in mind yet.

So without wider access to pools this summer, staying cool is harder, especially for people without air conditioning. That’s why the Lancaster County Office of Aging extended its hours both Tuesday and Wednesday at all it’s senior community centers.

“We look at the heat index so it’s usually around 92 degrees or so and then depending on what the humidity is and if it’s three days in a row then we will extend our hours,” Senior Center Program Director, Lisa Paulson said. They’ve also had to significantly reduce their outdoor aquatic classes for seniors as well, because of the lifeguard shortage.

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