Shortage of lifeguards causing some local pools to remain closed as warm weather arrives

- EDITOR'S NOTE: FOR CLARIFICATION, THIS STORY WAS FIRST REPORTED BY ARLNOW.COM | With summer right around the corner, many people are hoping to hop into the pool to cool off.

But according to a story first reported by Arlnow.com, many of the local commercial pools in northern Virginia are still closed because residents say there are not enough lifeguards.

For little Eva Rich, all she could think about is jumping into the pool at her complex in Arlington.

"When you dive into that pool, it feels like the ocean, and it's like amazing," the 7-year-old girl said. "I love the pool."

Unfortunately, her pool at the Barkley Condominiums is still closed.

"I really wish it was open," said Eva. "Dang."

According to the 7-year-old and her mother, it is not because there is something wrong with it.

"The lifeguards can't get in this country so we can't have the pool," said Eva.

"There was a sign on the elevators that said they were closed because they were having trouble getting lifeguards into the country -- the company that would contract to," said mother Alicia Rich.

The sign Alicia Rich is referring reads:

“The Barkley Pool will be closed until life guards are able to enter this country. The pool company believes that this will be accomplished sometime this week.

“Because of the recent slowdown in visa processing, our pool company has been unable to get the life guards cleared in time for our pool opening.”

"We even had a party planned, the whole building, and this happened," said Alicia.

According to the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals, some local pools, like the one at Barkley Condominiums, may not be open right away because of a shortage of lifeguards.

We learned many pool management companies recruit lifeguards from other countries through a program with the Department of Labor.

Officials with department said every year, they allow around 66,000 people with a work visa to the United States. They said they have already met that number this year and are pushing to try and get more.

“I don't know why it's burning so much, but I really want that pool back," said Eva.

So for now, Eva and her mom said they will have to wait patiently for their lifeguard, but they hope they will not have to wait too long.

"I figured I would give it a week, and swing by the office and be like, 'Hmm, any update?' said Alicia.

In Virginia, it is required by law to have a lifeguard on duty where there is a public swimming pool for residents to access. We are told some pool companies are hiring locally. For more information, click here.

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