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St. Louis to open all outdoor city pools Friday despite lifeguard shortage

Seasonal lifeguard jobs are open to people age 15 and up. The jobs pay at least $15 an hour

ST. LOUIS — Even with staffing shortages, the City of St. Louis will open all three of its outdoor pools this Friday.

St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones announced all three of the pools — Chambers Pool, Fairgrounds Pool and Marquette Pool — will be open from noon to 6 p.m. beginning this Friday.

“City pools give young people the opportunity to come together, have fun and cool off in a safe environment,” Director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry Greg Hayes said in a press release. “The City has worked diligently to open outdoor pools in the face of personnel shortages, and as Mayor Jones highlighted earlier today, we are still looking for more applicants to fill our many seasonal vacancies.”

Indoor pools in the city will continue on a limited-hours basis. Click here for the full schedule for city pools.

Seasonal lifeguard jobs are open to people age 15 and up. They pay at least $15 an hour.

Lifeguard positions are not the only jobs available with the city. 

The City of St. Louis has lifted its hiring freeze, and it is looking to fill more than 100 vacant positions, including engineers, lifeguards, police officers and nurses.

Mayor Jones will work with city departments to convene a committee that will address worker shortages. The goal is to streamline the application process and remove barriers for potential applicants, a press release said.

To view current job openings and submit an application online, visit the city's website.

RELATED: City of St. Louis looking to fill more than 100 vacant positions

A nationwide shortage of lifeguards is affecting pools around the St. Louis area. 

BJ Fisher, the health and safety director for the American Lifeguard Association, said this shortage happened before the COVID-19 pandemic, but we're really feeling the effects now.

RELATED: 'We are having a challenge': Lifeguard shortage impacts pools in the St. Louis area

Fisher said some of its lifeguards are J1 Visa workers coming from other countries.

But with COVID-19, thousands of lifeguards weren't able to do so this year because of travel restrictions.

The pandemic also prevented in-person training.

The certification is valid for two years, but people couldn't get that in-person recertification.

Plus, every summer nationwide, 300,000 first-time lifeguards sign up.

But last year, that couldn't happen.

Fisher said it'll take years to make up for the people it's lost. 

Another problem could happen in August. In years past, 20%-30% of lifeguards head back to school or college for sports, which could impact pools in the hottest month of the summer.

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