Mixed emotions surrounded a “ribbon cutting” for Harrison Hot Springs Resort as it officially reopened its doors to the public on Friday, May 29, nine weeks after shutting its doors to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vice general manager Scott de Savoye said the hotel staff was excited to return to business as usual as tourism sees a glint of hope while the province reopens. However, Friday also marked “a sombre occasion” as a majority of the 300-plus employees at the resort remain laid off.
Michael Mason is of the resort’s engineering and trades team, resident resort historian and an overall dedicated and landmark employee. He did the honours of cutting the ribbon – a strip of caution tape across he entrance to the resort. de Savoye found the use of caution tape rather apropos.
“It appropriately describes the full approach we are taking to ensure the health, safety and wellness of our employees, our guests and our community as we endeavour to ramp-up to normal operations,” de Savoye wrote in a statement.
An updated list as to what is and what is not open is available through the resort’s website at www.harrisonresort.com.
“For over 94 years the doors to the Harrison Hot Springs Resorthave remained open, and today our doors are open once again to guests and visitors,” de Savoye said.
The resort had initially halted reservations through the end of April, issuing refunds for any reservations booked for March 22 through April 30. The resort never technically had to close, but it did so out of respect for the villagers of Harrison Hot Springs and to discourage unnecessary travel when the first wave of COVID-19 was more intense.
Resort management ask those who want to come to the resort to stay home if they are sick; if they become unwell while staying at the resort, they should dial 8-1-1 immediately and seek medical attention.
While reservations are open, various amenities such as sit-down restaurants, the spa and indoor pools remain closed. Physical distancing and other necessary hygienic protocols are in place until such a time as they are deemed no longer necessary.
On June 1, Tourism Harrison issued their own official “Welcome Back” email. The message promotes Harrison’s more physical-distancing-appropriate outdoor activities such as fishing, golf, hiking and kayaking.
“We ask that you, please, travel responsibly and only when it is deemed safe to do so by provincial and federal authorities,” the email concludes. “Please respect our locals’ wishes and do not travel if you are feeling unwell.”
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