Lifeguards 'caught off guard' with pool reopening - RTHK
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Lifeguards 'caught off guard' with pool reopening

2022-05-05 HKT 11:49
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  • Swimmers returned to some beaches and swimming pools in Hong Kong on Thursday after they reopened as part of a relaxation of social distancing rules. Photo: RTHK
    Swimmers returned to some beaches and swimming pools in Hong Kong on Thursday after they reopened as part of a relaxation of social distancing rules. Photo: RTHK
A leader of a lifeguards' union said on Thursday that poor communication on the part of the government has left them short of staff for the scheduled reopening of swimming pools – an accusation that officials denied.

Nick Wu, a spokesman for the Hong Kong and Kowloon Life Guards’ Union, told an RTHK programme that they simply did not have enough time to fill up the pools.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam had said public pools would be reopened on Thursday, but the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) later said they won’t be ready till mid-May.

"We didn't know when the reopening would take place exactly. We thought it was part of the second phase [easing], on May 21... but suddenly we have to reopen, we were caught off-guard," Wu said on an RTHK programme.

Wu also said he expects to see an acute shortage of lifeguards for the summer, as many have changed jobs after prolonged suspension of pools and beaches over the past two years, and no examinations could take place for newcomers.

Meanwhile, the LCSD said in a written response to RTHK that there's no question of miscommunication, as officials have been preparing for the resumption of services since late April.

Beaches have reopened since Thursday morning, although not all of them have lifeguards.

A caller to the programme said he went to Repulse Bay and found that the beach was still fenced-off with wooden boards and the shower heads weren't available for use.

But other swimmers RTHK talked to said they were just happy to finally get to swim freely again.