Hotels and motels in northern Utah began expanding services last week and for the first time since the middle of March, guests are being allowed access to swimming pools.
Julie Hollist-Terrell has worked for several years as the director of the Cache Valley Visitors Bureau. Typically, she helps promote ways visitors to northern Utah can enjoy the area's theatre district, Logan's Summerfest Arts Faire, and Fourth of July celebrations. This year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, she is promoting the opening of hotel swimming pools.
“The hotels are pretty excited about that,” she said. “There have been quite a few families who have wanted to come to the hotels, but they would like a swimming pool available for their kids.”
Hotel owners are required to limit the number of people in the pool area and most are scheduling swim times to give staff the opportunity to sanitize between each use.
“It will be a different experience than what people are used to when they head for the hotel swimming pool,” Hollist-Terrell said. “You have to sign in at the front desk for what time you want to go to the swimming pool and then you will have an hour to be in there with your group. There can be no congregating on the deck of the pool, those types of things that are kind of like social distancing already but inside the swimming pool area.”
Another change, according to Hollist-Terrell, is that guests can order a hot meal at hotels that serve breakfast, instead of being offered the cold sack breakfast that has been served the past few weeks.
“So instead of having a buffet option, where you could go through and get whatever you want and make your own waffles, it will be limited to what you order from a menu,” she said. “It's just a different way of doing things.”
The re-opening of pools and offering a warm breakfast as a way of enticing guests won't make up for lost revenues.
“They've gone from occupancy rates of say 75% to 7%,” she said. “We even have a hotel here that's closed temporarily because there's just not enough traffic to keep doors open. So, the lessening of these restrictions is very important.”
Hollist-Terrell suggests checking with reservation staff about pool and meal options at the time of booking a hotel.