By ROBYN BRISTOW
The Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa will re-open on May 26.
General manager Graeme Abbot says the pools are a vital component of the wellbeing of Hanmer Springs and getting them open as soon as possible would help draw visitors to the town and its businesses.
Opening was also important in providing social and mental interaction for its staff, on the back of 18 staff being made redundant, including three from Artisan Spa, off site in the village.
Mr Abbot says 123 people are employed at the pools, but some had already left at the end of the busy summer season.
Those remaining were already starting to filter back, and management was hard at work crunching the numbers to see how to manage those visiting the pools at any one time.
He says the reality is the complex won’t make any money initially.
The Level 2 Covid-19 protocols meant numbers would have to be limited to provide distancing.
However, it was all part of rebuilding since closing on March 22.
“Other organisations haven’t got the rebuilding potential we do. Also 80 percent of our customers in the past have been domestic, so we don’t have a huge reliance on overseas visitors,” he says.
A 100-person plan was being worked through, and how to manage this while using safe distancing and complying with the Covid-19 protocols.
Mr Abbot says the hexagonal pools could potentially accommodate 20 people and still provide safe distancing.
Consideration was also being given to selling time spots of maybe two hours.
This would then allow more people to use the complex in the eight-hour day, with 100 people in each spot.
However, more entrances may have to be considered to ensure all those who bought a time spot actually got their time.
“We will be open absolutely. It is very exciting at the end of a sad week, with the redundancies, to see a rainbow ahead.”
However, he says what the final outcome will look like is still being worked through, and also with numbers greater than 100.
“It will be a changed look in these changing times.”
Marketing plans were being worked on for Hurunui Tourism, as well as the pools complex, to draw visitors back to the Hurunui district and Hanmer Springs.