US pools close, go without lifeguards amid labor shortage

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indianapolis typically fills 17 pools each year, but with a national lifeguard shortage exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, just five are open this summer.

The American Lifeguard Association estimates one-third of pools in the United States are impacted by the shortage. It comes as much of the nation is hit by a second heat wave in as many weeks.

Summer shortages aren’t unusual, but U.S. pools are also dealing with fallout from earlier in the pandemic when they closed and lifeguard certification stopped. Starting pay also lags behind many other jobs. In Chicago, Park District Superintendent Rosa Escareño attributes the scarcity in part to post-pandemic labor shortages as workers push for better hours, wages, and opportunities.

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