NYC's outdoor public pools set to open Thursday amid air quality, lifeguard staffing concerns

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Thursday, June 29, 2023
NYC outdoor public pools set to open Thursday amid air quality issues
The city is dealing with a lifeguard shortage once again. Plus, officials are considering whether our current air quality is safe enough. Derick Waller has details.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New York City's outdoor public pools will open Thursday, but will they stay open?

The 53 city pools are scheduled to open in the morning from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and than after an hour break, they will open again from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The city is dealing with a lifeguard shortage once again. As of last week, they have only hired about 500 lifeguards, far shorts of the approximately 1400 lifeguards that worked prior to the pandemic.

The lack of lifeguards is actually a nationwide issue. Many lifeguards say they can make more money working elsewhere.

Still, the parks commissioner says they are actively recruiting.

"As we do every summer, we are continuing to certify and bring new lifeguards on board. We will do that through July 4th weekend, through July. We are still adding to that corps. So we fully anticipate those numbers will increase, and we'll be adding to that corps, and we'll be adding staff and adding capacity as we have the lifeguards available," Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue said.

Officials say city beaches are looking for more lifeguards, as well. The city's eight public beaches opened for swimming on May 27.

As New Yorkers head to those outdoor pools to beat the heat and humidity, air quality is a concern. Smoke from wildfires in Canada is once again threatening to degrade the air in New York City.

As of early Thursday morning, air quality was at a "moderate" level for our area. Areas north and west of the city have "unhealthy" air quality, which can cause eye irritation, coughing and can aggravate underlying health conditions like asthma.


* Get Eyewitness News Delivered

* More New York City news

* Send us a news tip

* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts

* Follow us on YouTube

Submit a tip or story idea to Eyewitness News

Have a breaking news tip or an idea for a story we should cover? Send it to Eyewitness News using the form below. If attaching a video or photo, terms of use apply.