AUSTIN (KXAN) — The City of Austin doesn’t have enough lifeguards with specific certifications to operate Barton Springs Pool, so starting Monday, it will be closed for two extra days per week.
The city said in a press release that Barton Springs Pool requires lifeguards to have an extra Open Water Lifeguard certification and training, and that limits who can work there. Until the city can overcome staffing issues brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the popular swimming spot will be closed Mondays and Wednesdays, in addition to its regular Thursday closure for cleaning.
As of now, the city said it has around 100 lifeguards with the correct certifications to handle shifts at pools across Austin, but there are only 23 with valid credentials to work at Barton Springs Pool.
After stopping training in March 2020 due to the pandemic, the city resumed it in Spring 2021, but it still hasn’t been able to catch up and rebuild staffing levels. The closure will continue until, “a sufficient number of guards can be hired, trained, and certified.”
The closure doesn’t affect the swim at your own risk period from 5-8 a.m.
To apply to become a lifeguard, you can go to the city’s website. For those who qualify, $500 bonuses are available. Pay starts at $15 per hour.