the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Ringwood NJ, Senator Holly Schepisi called on the Murphy administration to reverse its decision to cancel swimming completely at Ringwood State Park for the 2021 season due to a shortage of lifeguards.
“There are labor shortages all across New Jersey in virtually every industry,” said Schepisi (R-39). “Aside from the Murphy administration, everyone else is finding a way to adapt even if it means operating with fewer staff on a limited schedule. Why can’t that happen at Ringwood State Park? It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.”
An advisory posted on the website of the New Jersey State Park Service highlighted the swimming closure at Ringwood State Park.
“My office has had discussions with local officials, including Ringwood Mayor Linda Schaefer, Deputy Mayor Michael McCracken, and borough councilmembers Jaime Matteo-Landis, and John Speer. We’re all frustrated by the administration’s position because we know how much it hurts local businesses who are depending on summer tourists after COVID crushed revenue last year,” said Schepisi.
The state park’s inability to find enough lifeguards to protect swimmers is proof that the worker shortage isn’t limited to small businesses, Schepisi noted.
“The Governor has stated that small employers pay low wages and that’s why they can’t fill job openings,” Schepisi noted. “As this shows, it’s not just mom-and-pop stores on Main Street with ‘now hiring’ signs in the windows. This is a state agency that can’t find enough people who are ready to get off unemployment and go back to work.”
The Senator said swimming could return if the park administration followed the lead of small companies who are learning to do more with less workers.
“If the private sector can be creative to find ways to continue operating with fewer staff, government should be able to as well,” added Schepisi. “It’s hard to believe the Murphy administration can’t find anyone who wants to get paid to sit on a beach in a state park. It’s like they’re not even trying.”
Schepisi noted that many restaurants struggling amid the labor shortage are operating on limited schedules that include fewer hours open along with days closed to prevent the staff they have from being overworked.