Chicago pool openings delayed until July due to lifeguard shortage

Chicago residents seeking relief from a recent heat wave won’t be able to cool off in the city’s pools until after the Fourth of July weekend because of a lifeguard shortage, park officials said.

The pools were initially expected to open for the summer on June 24, although the Chicago Park District had been warning that a nationwide lifeguard shortage could affect pool openings.

Park district officials confirmed Thursday that Chicago’s city-operated pools won’t open until July 5 because they need to hire more lifeguards, and test and certify them, the Chicago Tribune reported.

"Opening pools on July 5th will allow the district additional time to recruit and implement a strategy that provides pool resources to as many communities as possible this summer," district officials said in a statement.


News of the delayed pool openings follows a week of searing heat across Chicago and much of the Midwest. Temperatures at Chicago’s Midway Airport reached 100 degrees (37.8 Celsius) on Tuesday and Wednesday — the first time since 2012 the city has recorded that temperature on two consecutive days, the National Weather Service said.

Temperatures have since fallen and a cooler weekend is forecast before temperatures rise again early next week, the weather service said.

Chicago resident Carla Lopez, who often takes her 11-year-old daughter, Amaya, to public pools in the summer to cool down, said the delay is frustrating.

"It’s already affecting us because it’s, like, 100 degrees and we can’t get in there yet," said Lopez, who has been taking her daughter to a beach near her apartment complex to cool down.

Chicago’s beaches have been open since Memorial Day weekend.