The alpine village of Hanmer Springs is hoping people will flock back to its re-opened hot pools after a costly two-month absence during the Covid-19 lockdown.
The town’s newly deep-cleaned pools will be open for business from today, and its staff are asking people to come back.
Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa general manager Graeme Abbott was facing a 20 per cent reduction of staff because of the lockdown.
“To have to lay people off who, through no fault of their own, have lost their jobs and their income… it’s tough,” he said.
Mr Abbott said people would be spaced out in the pools to help with social distancing.
In Hanmer’s Powerhouse Cafe, 50 per cent of its workforce had to go.
“It’s tough for the staff not knowing whether they're going to have jobs,” manager Mary Holloway said.
She said it might take a year for things to return to normal.
Meanwhile, the heritage hotel in Hanmer won’t be re-opening. It was suffering from an already-low occupancy rate before the lockdown. Forty people lost their jobs at the hotel.
But Hanmer feels luckier than many other tourist towns as 80 per cent of its visitors were from New Zealand. They’re hoping Cantabrians, in particular, will come back in droves.
Ms Holloway said: “I hope that they'll all be back, the ones that still have jobs and still have a little bit of money to spend.”