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Lifeguard shortage could close swimming at Clute ADVERTISEMENT

Lifeguard shortage could close swimming at Clute

WATKINS GLEN--The swimming beach at Clute Park might be closed again for the second summer in a row. According to Craig Bond, Watkins Glen parks and event center manager, the issue that could keep the beach closed is the same as last year; not enough lifeguards. Bond gave this warning at the village board of trustees meeting, Tuesday, April 19.
"This is a fallout [from] COVID for two years in a row," said Bond. "They haven't really been certifying a lot of lifeguards and in order for us to open the beach we have to have five guards employed by the village."
While some board members did show interest in perhaps allowing the area to be "swim at your own risk," it quickly became apparent that is not an option.
"Because it's a permitted beach, in the past, we have to maintain it or we have to disregard it entirely," Bond stated.
While it might be inevitable that the beach will have to be closed this summer, one thing Bond said he is desperately trying to prevent is a recurrence of yellow caution tape marking the closure.
"I approached the department of health and they said if I don't get enough guards to open we have to put up closed signs for the beach... They wanted caution tape before which was an eyesore, and will try to do it in a tasteful way," Bond said.
If the beach is closed, Bond said the village has already been advised they will need to be active in ensuring residents and visitors to the park know they can not swim there.
"The issue is, because it is a public permitted beach, if anyone goes in the water we get ticketed, so they are asking us to step up patrols and get better messaging out," Bond added.
In regards to lifeguards, Bond explained, "We didn't have a lot of takers last year and it's up to five this year so it's not very hopeful we will be up to five."

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