Beaches in Bourne are open, as are their parking lots, with no restrictions. However, lifeguards will not be on duty until early July, and there will only be guards at Monument Beach.
That was the assessment of Bourne Department of Recreation director Krissanne M. Caron when asked about the status of lifeguards this summer. Back in early March, during a meeting of the Bourne board of selectmen and the Bourne finance committee, Ms. Caron had expressed a hope that enough lifeguards could be hired to have two beaches covered this summer.
That was before the town instituted a hiring freeze shortly after Governor Charles D. Baker Jr. issued his emergency stay-at-home order on March 23. With the hiring freeze in effect, the department has been stalled in its attempts to hire any new lifeguards for the summer.
Ms. Caron said the department is in the recruiting phase and accepting applications, although they are still unable to hire. She spoke with returning beach staff who have agreed to work in Bourne again this summer, she said, adding that new applicants have been made aware of the town’s hiring situation.
“We’re moving forward as if we’re going to be able to hire, and hope to have a full staff at Monument Beach,” she said.
Ms. Caron added that she is consulting with Bourne health agent Terri A. Guarino, the Bourne board of health and town administration on what will be required of lifeguards while they are on duty. One stipulation, she said, is whether guards will have to wear a face mask on the beach.
“We’re working through daily operating procedures,” she said.
On Monday, May 18, Gov. Baker issued a four-phase reopening plan for the state. Phase 1 went into effect that day. Phase 2 goes into effect no less than three weeks after Phase 1. Playgrounds, such as the one at Buzzards Bay Park, as well as public swimming pools, athletic fields and courts, and youth sports can open under Phase 2, albeit “in a limited fashion.”
Ms. Caron said that the definition of “in a limited fashion” is a bit unclear. It likely pertains to restrictions on holding youth sports tournaments, and the state is working on guidelines, but she said she is encouraged by what is outlined in Phase 2.
“We would like to get to Phase 2 and have organized activities, [and] get kids out engaging with their friends and classmates,” she said.
Phase 3 can go into effect at least three weeks after the start of Phase 2. Under Phase 3, more recreation is permitted, including youth sports with games and tournaments, although crowd sizes will be limited.
A full resumption of activity, including all outdoor recreation and activities, can begin under Phase 4, which will only go into effect with the development of vaccines and treatment for COVID-19. Phase 4 also anticipates a “new normal” for gatherings, with people still being urged to wear face masks, maintain social distance and wash their hands frequently.
Ms. Caron said she does not anticipate the recreation department will be able to offer some programs for children this summer. Notably, the department likely will not offer its basketball or volleyball program. Everything else, she said, “is on the table in terms of discussions and what we can offer safely.”
So far, the department has not conducted any registrations for any summer programs because of the uncertainty surrounding what the department will be able to offer. Ms. Caron said there are a lot of ideas, but nothing has been finalized.
“It’s not good to plan for one thing and then not be able to offer it,” she said. “We do anticipate a lot of participation in what we can offer.”
She said she is excited to move forward quickly through the different phases, and after June 1 she expects to start putting programs up on the recreation department’s website.
“We want to be ready to go when we get the go-ahead,” she said. “It’s a challenge, but we want to do right by the community and give them everything we can.”