'Enjoy the water:' Lifeguards return to Atwater Beach, capacity limited to reduce COVID-19 risk

Atwater Beach

SHOREWOOD -- Summer officially arrived on Saturday, June 20, and Milwaukee County beaches have been open for a few weeks. Now, a Shorewood beach has lifeguards on duty.

"If we can keep a healthy mixture of people coming and going -- we're going to beat this," said Eric Gietzen, Atwater Beach head lifeguard. "If you don't have space, maybe the next day come back earlier or maybe leave earlier to make space for others."

Atwater Beach in Shorewood is adding lifeguards for the first time since COVID-19 hit. The lifeguards are wearing masks and encourage people to social distance. The beach also has a capacity.

Atwater Beach

Atwater Beach

"If they come to Atwater Beach and want to enjoy the water, the beach that's great. We should all do that, we should all be coming outside -- but make space," Gietzen said. "It's a very conservative, safe number - 300."

Typically, there is no limit on the number of people allowed at the beach. During peak hours, staff will monitor the crowds at the entry gate atop the bluff that leads down to the shore. In addition, no smoking or dogs are allowed at Atwater Beach.

Eric Gietzen

"At peak hours, we'll have a greeter up top reminding people of some of the rules we have here at the beach," said Gietzen.

Lifeguards at Atwater Beach are asking people to monitor the amount of time guests spend at the beach, just to allow for more room for others to enjoy the beach, too.

Lifeguards will be working daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. until Aug. 16.