While some beaches around the U.S. are opening back up, Virginia beaches never closed. Visitors and locals have been told that beaches are only to be used for exercise and to practice social distancing. Patrols on Virginia Beach will be limited starting in May because many lifeguards in training haven't been able to complete their certification courses.
Per WHSV 3, Virginia Beach EMS Deputy Chief Joey Hundley confirmed Thursday, "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."
As reported by the Virginia Department of Health, Virginia currently has reported 8,990 coronavirus cases and 300 deaths.
The beaches continued to stay open as they're considered an essential location for exercise and outdoor leisure activities such as fishing.
Lifeguard patrols have been active on the beaches to make sure beachgoers are following the state's social distancing guidelines.
Come May, there will be fewer patrols, including during Memorial Day weekend.
Some lifeguards that were working to complete their certifications haven't been able to complete the program due to the pandemic. There haven't been any updates as to when the courses will be rescheduled.*
Hundley also told WHSV3, "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."
The lifeguard patrol staff is said to not be completely full until at least Sunday, June 10.
With fewer lifeguards on duty, officials can only hope that locals continue to be responsible with no one watching over them as diligently.
*This article has been updated.