As lifeguards return to duty for Memorial Day weekend in Ocean City, Maryland, they will have new equipment and new rules to follow due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Guards will have their temperature taken daily and asked a series of questions about whether they have any symptoms.
“Every employee every day will have a wellness check,” said Butch Arbin, captain of the Ocean City Beach Patrol.
Supervisors, who ride on all-terrain vehicles, will have additional equipment including gloves, a gown and a face shield. It is their job to step in when someone on the beach needs immediate help.
“In the case of a first aid situation, we will have somebody that has more protection than what a guard would have,” Arbin said.
During a normal year, supervisors would put on a protective mask and administer mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, but that will not happen now due to concerns about the coronavirus. Instead, they will also carry a “bag valve mask,” a hand-held device that can be used to help someone breathe and resuscitate them.
“This year, we are not doing mouth-to-mouth,” said Arbin.
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Masks will be given to each lifeguard, which they will wear whenever they interact with the public. However, they will not be required to wear masks when they are sitting in their stands.
“They’re already physically distant from people just being up in the stand,” Arbin said.
The town is expecting large crowds for the holiday weekend after it lifted coronavirus restrictions on hotels and other short-term rentals last weekend. Mayor Rick Meehan said earlier this week that plenty of people have already taken advantage of the lifted restrictions.
“People are anxious to get out and about,” Meehan said. “And the hotels will be prepared, and we will be prepared to the best of our ability.”
Restaurants in Ocean City are still only open for carryout, and bars and other amusement venues are still closed.