CAPITOLA, Calif. (KION) People visiting Capitola beach lately to enjoy the sun or a swim might’ve noticed the absence of lifeguards.
Like other cities throughout the Central Coast, Capitola took a financial hit from the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the city, they cut lifeguards from the budget in order to make up for the losses.
The position cuts were not a problem when the beaches were closed, but the city said that beach restrictions were lifted earlier than anticipated. The reopening left beachgoers without anyone certified to watch over them while they swim.
“It’s a little startling,” visitor Ryan Torres said. “We’re seeing a lot of kids here. I feel like the safest thing would be to have lifeguards.”
The city said it reached out to the Central Fire Protection District for help staffing the lifeguard towers, but the fire department doesn’t have enough personnel to do so.
On Thursday, the city council will be deciding whether to move forward through the rest of the summer without lifeguards on the beach.