Lifeguard shortage forces closure of Barkhamsted beach for Memorial Day weekend – Hartford Courant

Lake McDonough beach in Barkhamsted, a popular destination for the start of the summer, will not be open Memorial Day weekend due to a shortage of lifeguards.

The lack of lifeguards reflects a statewide problem, and the beach, owned by the Metropolitan District Commission, does not have a “swim at your own risk” policy. The boat launch at the lake remains open.

The beach area will remain closed until further notice. MDC leaders have not decided about the rest of the season as they try to address lifeguard staffing and recruitment, the agency announced Thursday.

Lifeguard and other staff shortages plagued amusement parks, municipal pools and beaches in Connecticut and across the nation last summer. Labor experts attributed the trend largely to the coronavirus pandemic, but acknowledged that seasonal workers — much like full-timers in many industries — remained scarce long after restrictions were lifted.

For more information about Lake McDonough, visit

Jesse Leavenworth can be reached at

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