Old Town Hot Springs to reopen to members Friday with stipulations
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Old Town Hot Springs is reopening to members on Friday, with social distancing and health protocols in place.
For the first week of operations, the gym will open to existing members who had an active membership as of March 15, which is when the facility closed its doors.
The facility will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., allowing more time for cleaning and disinfecting. Guests will be required to make a reservation at picktime.com/oldtownhotsprings. Reservations are for an hour, and a member can reserve up to two hours over the course of a day for the lap pool, hot pools and fitness center. This will help regulate the amount of people in the building.
Additionally, members will be asked to do a COVID-19 symptom check and sign a waiver before entering the building.
“I think people are really used to this center being a community gathering place,” said Old Town Hot Springs Marketing Director Vanessa Cory. “They love bumping into friends. They love hanging out all day with their family by the pool. We love that about Old Town Hot Springs. People can come together. It doesn’t really matter what your interests are, there’s something for everybody. But with this change, it’s going to be more you come and do what you need to do to stay healthy and then you leave. There won’t be the community gathering aspect.”
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Ahead of reopening, the nonprofit hired Roberta Smith, an infectious disease expert, to offer guidance while designing the protocols under which the facility would operate once given the go-ahead to reopen. Smith, who recently became a full-time resident of Steamboat rather than a second-home owner, is a certified industrialized hygienist and a nurse that is certified in infection prevention.
Smith has acted as a filter and a translator, helping Old Town Hot Springs staff sift through all the information out there and determine the best course of action.
“There’s a lot of news, there’s a lot of information out there. At the end of the day, we all could educate ourselves as much as we could, but we really wanted to consult with an expert,” said Cory. “It was nice to have an expert just reinforce that the decisions we were making were the right decisions.”
Smith has reviewed all the protocols, and walked the facility with Executive Director Stephanie Orozco to ensure they checked all their boxes and thought of everything. Smith will be on site on Friday to consult staff and guests throughout the first day of implementing all the new systems and rules.
“I have full confidence they probably don’t need me there,” said Smith. “But I think it’s great to watch everything in action. If we have to do things differently, we can strategize.”
In the pools, members will be socially distanced, staying one person per lane in the lap pool. There is no additional risk of spreading the virus in the pools, so long as people aren’t extremely close together.
Smith said that not only does the virus not survive in water, but would be quickly killed by the chemicals required to be in public pools. So long as the members and staff stay patient with each other and themselves while they learn the new policies, the reopening day should go smoothly.
“I think Old Town Hot Springs is a fantastic organization,” said Smith. “And it’s great that we’re able to have another resource open up for the community, but do it in a safe and cautious manner and make sure that people are still enjoying the experience and we’re all keeping our community safe.”
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