Little by little, the lights are coming back on for businesses across B.C. as we face a future beyond the first wave of COVID-19.
Harrison Hot Springs Resort and Spa, a core employer and business in Harrison Hot Springs, is opening in phases effective Friday, May 29.
This comes in a few days ahead of June 1, the first day of B.C.’s third phase of reopening, which is when resorts and hotels can open for business under enhanced COVID-19 prevention protocols. However, vice general manager Scott de Savoye said the resort/hotel falls into a bit of a gray area as since they’re classified as a hotel and therefore an essential service, they were never mandated to close in the first place.
With that said, though, de Savoye said there were a number of reasons the resort shut down anyway, the first being respect for the residents of the village, which has a sizable vulnerable population due to the number of retirees who have settled in the area. Resort staff safety was also a primary concern and dictated the difficult decision to close. Moreover, de Savoye pointed out that having the resort open even during a worldwide pandemic could naturally have drawn premature tourism traffic. The resort did not want to promote tourism while the village itself had closed off to tourists and visitors as that would be in bad taste.
Reservations may be open for Friday night, but life at the resort will look much different at least for the near future.
“The health, safety and wellness of our employees, our guests and our community remains our primary concern,” the announcement reads. “We have naturally modified most of our operations to reduce the risks associated with the COVID-19 global pandemic.”
Resort management stresses that if you are sick, please do not stay at the resort or visit any of the associated businesses at this time. If you become unwell while staying at the resort, seek medical attention immediately and call 8-1-1. The closest medical clinics are roughly 10 minutes away.
Resort staff also strongly suggest groups and families maintain physical distances but they “are not going to physically force people apart.”
“Every one of us must keep our distance for the health and safety of ourselves and others.”
Resort staff members are supplied with germicidal disposable cloths to be used on door handles, credit and debit machines, light switches, elevator buttons and other commonly touched surfaces. Sanitizer will be made available for guest use in several areas of the resort as long as supplies continue to last.
Resort staff will not be filling personal containers for coffee and tea, and restaurant tables will only be set once guests are seated. While daily housekeeping will not be available, supplies can be delivered up to rooms.
There will be no communal buffets available at this time, and bell service, valet parking and the use of luggage carts are suspended until further notice.
The outdoor pools will be open according to provincial guidelines with between 20 and 50 people allowed, depending on the pool. Indoor pools are closed until further notice. Again, physical distancing and other appropriate measures are encouraged.
The Healing Springs Spa will remain closed at this time as will the fitness room and gym. Afternoon tea service is also suspended until further notice. The golf course is operating under COVID-19 prevention guidelines, but power cart rentals are not available at this time.
Most sit-down restaurants have modified hours, and banquets and catering are considered on a case-by-case basis and will need to adhere to appropriate provincial health guidelines. Sticks and Stones and Legends are closed until further notice.
Moving forward, resort staff indicated they will continue to monitor the situation and follow directions provided by local, provincial and federal health authorities.
Resort officials said the resort had to lay off more than 300 employees after it shut its doors on March 23 – a bit more than two months ago.
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