LONG BEACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Lifeguards across Long Island are gearing up.
Beaches open Friday, and the chairs will be occupied.
The lifeguard pledge remains: Go to any length to save lives.
“The job they have this weekend is going to be a very onerous task. For example, CPR. How are they going to administer CPR?” said beachgoer Brian Bluver.
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“If there’s people in the water and they need help, someone’s got to be there. Otherwise close the beaches,” said beachgoer Elliott Stumacher.
State Senator Todd Kaminsky said it’s crucial that swimmers obey lifeguards’ orders and do their part to keep them safe, too.
“If you actually have to rescue someone and possibly perform CPR, even using new technologies like new underwater masks still puts you in a precarious position. So the lifeguards that I’m talking to are really going to run very strict beaches,” Kaminsky said.
Doctors say human contact on the beach is a risk.
“The virus will not live in salt water and it’s certainly not going to live on the sand because it’s going to dehydrate. It’s about the person-to-person contact,” said Dr. Sharon Nachman of Stony Brook Children’s Hospital.
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To protect lifeguards, swimmers may be asked to remain close to the shoreline, and when rip currents move it, refrain from going into the ocean.
Despite potential danger of the COVID-19 spread, state, county and town officials say so far summer lifeguards are applying in good numbers, willing to take the risk, reported CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan.
Many are career summer lifeguards, said Nassau County Executive Laura Curran.
“The Red Cross is asking the state to extend the certification of lifeguards for 120 days to get through the season,” she said.
“If they want to do the job, then they can be our first responders. Good for them,” one beachgoer said.
No one in line for beach passes wants chaos, hoping beaches provide some safe recreation for residents without being overwhelmed.