Source - Soon-to-be-bustling Cape Cod is bracing for a very different summer atmosphere, reopening from closures over the coronavirus -- as some lifeguards warn of danger ahead.
Among the concerns: enforcing social-distancing rules and mask requirements, which were never previously in their job descriptions, while continuing to save lives -- and watch out for sharks.
“I’m concerned with how it will play out,” Jody Craven, the head lifeguard in Wellfleet -- a Massachusetts beach town -- told the Cape Cod Times. “I don’t want to be the person who has to enforce common-sense laws that in the past haven’t been my thing to enforce.”
The Times noted that dozens of great white sharks were seen near the shore just last summer, and one shark even killed bodyboarder two years ago.
Craven said college-aged lifeguards will have to split their time between eyeing for sharks and regulating beachgoers on the shore. “I feel like we’re destined for some sort of catastrophe.”
Just when you think there might be a proverbial light at the end of the metaphorical tunnel, it turns out to be a figurative train coming in the other direction.
I assumed that summer would be, for the most part, the beginning of the end of coronavirus, just like it is with the flu every year. And the beach would be the best possible place to be, what with the heat and sunshine and open air and space. Since an elevator is the worst place to be, it just seems intuitive that the polar opposite of an elevator would be beneficial. And that to me, is the beach. But I'm not here to argue with the guidelines set forth by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, who have kept us safe from such harmful pursuits as going to the driving range. An activity which promotes social distancing by the very act of swinging a three foot metal death hammer in a circle around your entire body. But those are still closed while the ability to buy lottery tickets has never been curtailed. But I digress.
So it would seem that the new first responders on the front line of this war will be the men and women of our Life Guard force. And this summer they'll be tasked with the double duty of keeping us from breathing on each other and getting eaten. Maybe in year's past you might've assumed their job was to look amazing in orange board shorts, aviators and zinc oxide nose covering, watching out for horseplay and spraying people with ammonia when they get jellyfish stings. But this year, it'll be so much more.
Hail to our brave lifeguards as we'll be counting on them more than ever before. Their job - make that their calling - has always been a pressure cooker as it is. But now that the state has given them the added pressure of measuring the distance between beach chairs and enforcing mask discipline, I'm afraid we might lose a lot of good men and women under the strain. Which means it's up to all of us to cooperate, self-regulate, abide by the rules and ease that tension. Then we can all focus on being petrified of getting attacked by Great Whites again like before. I think we all miss those simpler times.