Virginia Beach lifeguard patrols to be limited through May

Published: Apr. 17, 2020 at 6:06 PM EDT
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Lifeguard patrols along the beaches of a coastal Virginia city will likely be limited during the normally busy Memorial Day weekend and through the month of May, emergency management officials have announced.

Patrols in Virginia Beach will be reduced and guards will not be entering watch stands next month due to staffing challenges related to the coronavirus pandemic, Virginia Beach EMS Deputy Chief Joey Hundley confirmed Thursday.

Some lifeguards have not been able to complete their certifications as recreation centers where trainings take place were among the facilities classified as nonessential and closed under Virginia's stay-at-home order, EMS Chief Ed Brazle said in a letter to the Deputy City Manager last week.

However, beaches have remained open for fishing and exercise.

Guards usually start patrolling Virginia Beach shores May 1 and enter watch stands regularly by May 16, WAVY-TV reported. This year, the department does not expect lifeguards to be fully staffed until June 10, Hundley said.

He added that the Emergency Management Service is working with the parks and recreation department to open up some pools for guards to complete their pre-employment screenings and training before then.