With just one trained lifeguard expressing interest in working at Morses Pond beach this summer in light of COVID-19 restrictions, the Wellesley Recreation Department has little choice but to operate the beach like last year. That means swim at your own risk and resident-only beach reservations in a program the town will support through CARES Act funding.
The town usually hires 20 lifeguards, but with certification programs unavailable due to COVID and young people opting for other jobs to lock something in, things have definitely not returned to normal on this front. The town typically has all this in order by Memorial Day.
Like last year, you can expect to hear more details about the reservation system shortly before the beach season begins in early June. The decision to go this route was an extremely tough one last year, as COVID-19 was in its early stages during the decision-making process. This time around, based on the relative success of last year’s offering, the decision was easier to make.
The Recreation Department is looking at smaller beach spots (you reserve a block for your group on the beach) and longer hours, to help maximize the number of people who can safely use the beach, said Recreation Dept. Director Matt Chin during the Recreation Commission meeting this past week (The Rec Department also confirmed during that meeting that it’s moving ahead on summer camp offerings, which could have fewer restrictions if state guidelines are relaxed, as expected. Fewer restrictions would include more camp, less time spent washing hands, etc.)
The Recreation Department is working through details with the town’s Board of Health regarding opening the restrooms this year. This involves sorting out cleaning schedules and deep cleaning requirements. “Just from a customer service standpoint, we want to be able to get the restrooms open, changing areas may be off limits,” Chin told us by email.
Separately, Town Meeting approved Community Preservation Fund spending of $175K to support feasibility work regarding Morses Pond bathhouse and beach design.