PAYETTE — Following a 14-month closure resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, Payette recreation director Tiffany Weimar announced to the Payette City Council on Monday that the Payette Public Swimming Pool will have a soft reopening starting Friday. She said the indoor pool will open for limited hours on Fridays and Saturdays.
While she aims to reopen the pool for morning aerobics classes for the pool’s senior customers, Weimar said finding qualified candidates to apply for instructor and lifeguard positions remains the obstacle.
“Right now, we don’t have anybody applying for the assistant manager position,so that means me at the pool whenever we’re open,” she said, noting the shift leader position is also open. “We have whole bunch of 15- and 16- and a couple of 17-year-olds and we can’t leave them unattended without [an] adult there at the pool while it’s open.”
As things stand, the pool has an entirely new staff as no prior employees have returned as of press time. There are presently six certified guards on staff and four being certified, according to Weimar.
“We have no returning guards, currently,” she said.
“Lack of people for jobs is hitting us all,” noted Mayor Jeff Williams.
Weimar said she plans to resume aerobics classes by the end of May as staffing allows, and that she would instruct classes if needed. Until then, she and her staff are training on their emergency action plan, which includes how to respond to save people from drowning.
“We’ve been at the pool late nights, I’ve been there lots of evenings running through those action plans,” said Weimar.
The pool’s staff is also preparing to launch its membership management software, set to launch June 28.
When asked by Councilor Kathy Patrick about what to tell prior aerobics swimmers who are waiting for classes to come back, Weimar assured her that those classes remain high on her list of priorities.
“I have a problem with this, ‘cause you’re excluding the majority of the people who want to use that pool right now,” said Patrick. “They’ve been waiting forever.”
“They’re more than welcome to come in during open swim,” Weimar responded, noting she understands their frustration. “There’s nothing that I can do about that right now.”
The indoor pool’s temporary operating hours are Fridays 4-6:30 p.m. and Saturdays 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 3-6 p.m.
“Those times are going to change as we get more staff coming in,” said Weimar.
The outdoor pool facilities will reopen at a later date due to fluctuating weather.