The Nakusp Hot Springs (NHS) is only open to Nakusp residents for the foreseeable future as COVID-19 infections rise across the province.
NHS supervisor Noel Ballard hopes the move will temporarily discourage tourists from visiting the hot springs.
“A recent health order by the B.C. government states that you’re not supposed to be travelling unless it’s absolutely necessary,” said Ballard.
“Since we’re not considered an essential service, we didn’t want to stay open for all Canadians and encourage them to travel here for non-essential purposes.”
Nakusp residents must now fill out a sign-in form when they arrive at the hot springs and provide their name, telephone number and where they live.
Requiring people to wear a mask inside the hot springs facility, closing the chalets and limiting the seating capacity in the large pool to 20 people and five people in the small pool are other health protocols recently implemented by NHS staff.
Operations have been going as well as they could be during a pandemic, according to Ballard.
“Even though we’ve had to eliminate our chalets and out-of-town traffic, I would consider this year a success with the scenario that’s unfolded,” said Ballard.
“It looks like we still will be able to break even financially, which is a huge plus.”
According to an online council report by Ballard, revenue only dropped slightly from $123,548 in Sept. 2019 to $110,035 in Sept. 2020. Visitor numbers were down from 5401 to 3956 during the same time frame.
Nakusp residents can access the pool daily from 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.. The pool and change rooms are closed for cleaning from 11:30 a.m. to noon and from 7 to 7:30 p.m.
Ballard emphasized that the hot springs will reopen to the public when health authorities lift the recommendations against non-essential travel in the province.