Buffalo outdoor pools closed all summer due to lifeguard shortage

Erie County

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The city splash pads have been open since May, but when it comes to the nine public outdoor pools in Buffalo, they will remain locked up all summer because lifeguard recruiting and training was not able to happen during the midst of the pandemic.

“Every year, over the winter we partner with groups like the Police Athletic League, Buffalo City Swimming Racers, and Buffalo Public Schools to recruit city youth to become trained for free to become city lifeguards,” said Andy Raab, deputy commissioner of Parks and Recreation for the City of Buffalo. “We were not able to do that this year because of Covid protocols. The schools weren’t really operating, our pools were not open over the course of the winter when we would normally do that.”

So for now, two indoor pools—Lovejoy and Cazenovia—will be open each weekday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. The city’s 10 splash pads will also be open every day from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. this summer.

But to mothers like Samantha Crespo, that’s not the same. “With the hot weather, not everyone can afford AC, so coming out to the public pool is something we look forward to. I know for me and my kids, it was something we were looking forward to, so it sucks.”

However, Fransheska Morales sees it differently. She isn’t quite ready to let her kids take the plunge into a public pool so soon after COVID restrictions are lifted. “I feel more comfortable with my kids getting wet in the area I live. They could get wet outside. Being with the pandemic, I feel more comfortable with that decision.”

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