Glenwood Hot Springs pool closes over coronavirus concerns
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
As other Glenwood Springs tourist attractions were already in shutdown mode for the week Sunday — and in the case of Sunlight Mountain ski area, buttoning up for the season — the Glenwood Hot Springs Resort was still open, at least for one more day.
On Sunday afternoon, Hot Springs officials issued a statement saying they, too, would close for the normally busy spring break week along with state ski resorts and other tourist venues over concerns about the potential spread of COVID-19.
The resort closed the Hot Springs pool, spa, athletic club, grill and retail shop through March 22, effective at 6 p.m. Sunday.
Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park and the co-owned Iron Mountain Hot Springs announced late Saturday that they would close for the week effective Sunday.
And Sunlight Mountain Resort followed Gov. Jared Polis’ executive order Saturday shutting down ski resorts in the state for the coming week in an effort to control the spread of the virus, which has been declared a national and world pandemic.
Sunlight made the decision on its own to shut down for the season, instead of continuing until its scheduled April 5 closing.
The Hot Springs Pool stood out Sunday as one of the few major tourist attractions still open in the Roaring Fork Valley, and seemed to be doing pretty good business amid a cascade of closures over the past few days in an attempt to minimize the spread of the coronavirus.
“We have been meeting regularly on this in recent weeks, participating in the public conference call with the city and looking at industry recommendations for pools,” Hot Springs Vice President John Bosco said Sunday in a phone interview along with Director of Operations Kevin Flohr.
As long as pools follow proper treatment procedures and other sanitary practices, they do not pose a risk for spread of disease via the pool water, he said.
The coronavirus is believed to mostly spread through droplets emitted from an infected person through the air or after it lands on a surface. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also reports there is evidence of people being contagious even if they aren’t displaying symptoms.
“We really didn’t know what we were going to have in terms of crowds, either,” he added, noting the number of daily visitors was down by about a third compared with a typical spring break weekend day.
It has not been a typical spring break in terms of lobby congestion, they added, and precautions were taken to open the second-floor locker rooms to allow more personal space.
Hand sanitizer stations and other sanitary protocols also were in place, they said.
As an outdoor venue, the Hot Springs does not fall under Garfield County Health’s prohibition on public gatherings of more than 50 people.
In its official news release announcing the Sunday evening closing, pool officials said, “Glenwood Hot Springs Resort treats the health and wellness of guests, employees, vendors and the community with the utmost seriousness.”
“In these uncertain and challenging times, the resort feels it is prudent to temporarily cease pool operations following the recommendations of public health officials,” the news release continued.
“This is in support of the overall well-being of the community. The situation will be monitored on a day-to-day basis and decisions will be made accordingly,” it concluded.
For now, Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge will remain open, and has “implemented enhanced strategies to protect guests,” according to the release.
“That is being evaluated, as well, on a daily basis,” Bosco said.
Sunlight Mountain on Sunday issued a statement via its Facebook page formally announcing its decision to shut down for the season, and offer refunds to anyone who had pre-purchased lift tickets, lessons or rentals.
“Let’s all take the necessary precautions and keep ourselves and our local community safe,” Sunlight said in the post. “We will tackle this pandemic and chat about it next season on the chairlift.”
In the meantime, uphill users are welcome, Sunlight Sales and Marketing Director Troy Hawks said, but passes should still be displayed and designated uphill routes should be used. Uphillers should also be aware that crews will be on the slopes doing shutdown procedures, he said.
Hawks said Sunlight was already winding down on the staffing front, as many seasonal workers leave in March to prepare for spring and summer jobs.
“Some staff will be on this week as we close down, then for many of them it’s on to their summer jobs,” Hawks said. “We actually lose staff before we close each year, so being three weeks from our original planned closing we already had staff transitioning to their summer employment.
“We do regret having to stop our operation sooner than planned and the inconvenience it has caused to those employees looking forward to those work hours,” he added.