After several months of remaining closed due to COVID-19, the Parks Canada Radium Hot Springs hot pools facility (RHS) has finally open its doors to the public again.
RHS has to make sure COVID-19 protocols are followed, and staff and the guests are kept safe. There are some changes: the famous hot pools will open at 11 a.m. to give guests more time to enjoy them, as capacity will now be limited by number. Before COVID-19, RHS could hold more than 500 people at a time. This number has been reduced to a maximum of 100 persons in the building at any given time. Because of this limited capacity, guests should expect waiting lines and will be asked to reduce their time in the pools, so that everyone can enjoy them.
There are no rental costume or towels to rent anymore. Change rooms and shower will limited capacity. Most of the COVID-19 procedures and protocols in place in local stores are also in place at RHS; the plexiglass screens, several stations for hand sanitizing and physical distancing routes. Even though there are fewer people who can enter the facility, there will be more staff working to help ensure protocols are in place.
When the Pioneer asked why open now, Julian England, the hot pools chief operating officer, said, “time gives us the opportunity to open and manage it safely. It would have been hard to do it before.” One of the main problems RHS had to resolve before re-opening is the safety of the lifeguards as they must work really closely with the public in case of emergencies. RHS worked with Lifesaving Society to ensure all the protocols are respected for the guests and the staff’s health. Lifeguards will be following special updated COVID-19 instructions and practices to minimize risk. Interior Health has also worked with RHS to put COVID-19 protocols in place.
England is asking the public to be patient. “The experience can not be the same as before, as the conditions are not the same anymore,” he said. Guests should expect a waiting line in the busiest moments of the day. He also suggested coming, if possible, during the quieter, less-busy times during the day.
While RHS was closed, many improvements have been put in place. Contractors could continue working throughout the closure and have completed the wet hall subfloor’s replacement and completed renovations in the change rooms. The change rooms had a lift-up, as did the shower facilities. Since 2017, more than $9.5 million has been spent on renovation, maintenance, and upgrading the RHS facility.