Job of beach lifeguards is 'shore' to be different with COVID-19

Posted at 4:43 PM, Apr 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-29 18:04:31-04

NORFOLK, Va. - Like all college sports teams, the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the men's and women's swimming and diving teams at Old Dominion University.

The virus altered the season, the semester - and now it's changing the summer. Summer jobs.

"Beach lifeguarding is the perfect job for a swimmer," admitted ODU rising sophomore Brynn Jewell.

Both Jewell and Grant Meadows are beach lifeguards in their home state of North Carolina. Grant, who works in Emerald Isle, has already started patrolling from 9:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. as the town recently lifted restrictions on beach access for residents and property owners. However, as you can tell from the video he sent News 3, the beach is anything but crowded.

"There's like no one out there," Grant told News 3. "Honestly, it feels pointless being out there, but it's good we're are in case something happens."

Brynn, who lifeguards at Carolina Beach, will start training for her second summer in the role May 11th. Currently, her beach is closed to everything but non-stationary exercise. However, like Grant, Brynn knows the beach won't be barren for long.

"Those first couple days when everyone is free, it's going to be like the 4th of July and Memorial Day," Jewell explained.

"A lot of the rental properties are supposed to open within a week or two," Grant noted. "So, there's a lot of people that will be coming down."

Will lifeguards be expected to enforce social distancing on the beach?

"We're not really supposed to enforce it on the beach," Grant said.

"I honestly don't think we will," Brynn added. "Our job is to watch the water and make sure everyone is safe and not going to get hurt."

So they'll take care of you in the ocean, but it's up to you to remain safe on the sand.