The Town Beach at Silver Lake will remain closed this summer, due to the COVID 19 pandemic. The Town has been unable to secure enough lifeguards to staff the beach for two reasons. First, we would need more staff than usual to ensure that social distancing requirements are met. Second, there are no certification classes currently being offered to allow new lifeguards to meet the Town’s hiring standards. A second effort was made to recruit lifeguards by extending the deadline for applications through June 12, 2020. While this effort did lead to additional applications the number of applications from qualified lifeguards was insufficient.
In addition, the social distancing requirements for beaches are extremely difficult to meet at small beaches like Town Beach. Groups of up to 10 people must be 6 feet apart from one another, and there must be 12 feet between groups. The small size of Town Beach would allow for a very small population at one time before the beach would be “full to capacity”. Many other town beaches and pools in the area are facing the same challenges. Lexington, Belmont, Bedford, Wellesley, Needham and Newton have also had to close their facilities. Some area beaches have tried to open with limited or no staff, and advising patrons to “Swim at your own risk”. These beaches have subsequently closed as patrons are not observing the social distancing requirements on their own.
It is also recommended that there be a separate entrance and exit provided for all patrons. Again, this would require additional staff to monitor an additional gate. Other challenges include the fact that changing rooms cannot be open, and there is always the concern that if a patron does contract the coronavirus, it could be transmitted at the beach. While we understand the disappointment in the Beach being off limits, we are looking forward to keeping residents safe and healthy this summer, and active at all of the other parks, trails, fields and playgrounds in town.