The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands)

Out­door lo­ca­tions to have phased open­ing

● Leisure char­ity warns of slow and ten­ta­tive process

- BY SUSY MA­CAULAY Business · Scottish Government · Steve Walsh · Steve Walsh · Inverness

Leisure, sport and cul­ture char­ity High Life High­land (HLH) is pre­par­ing to re­open its fa­cil­i­ties – but has warned users it will be a slow and ten­ta­tive process.

It is plan­ning a phased ap­proach, which may in­volve open­ing out­door lo­ca­tions such as In­ver­ness Botanic Gar­dens and Nurs­ery first.

There may also be ad­justed open­ing hours for other fa­cil­i­ties and wait­ing lists put in place for new HLH mem­bers.

The phased re­cov­ery process, which is be­ing car­ried out in line with Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment guide­lines, is be­ing led by cor­po­rate pro­gramme man­ager Si­mon Swanson.

He said: “The sit­u­a­tion fac­ing us at the mo­ment is very fluid, with guid­ance be­ing re-eval­u­ated fre­quently, and as a re­sult we have to be flex­i­ble in our ap­proach to re­open­ing in terms of tim­ing and fea­si­bil­ity.

“This an­nounce­ment means we can start look­ing at out­door lo­ca­tions such as In­ver­ness Botanic Gar­dens and Nurs­ery and how we will be able to op­er­ate the site at some level and still meet the cur­rent guide­lines.”

HLH chief ex­ec­u­tive Steve Walsh said the re­turn would “not be like turn­ing a light switch on”.

He said teams have been work­ing hard in the back­ground to pre­pare for the Covid-19 bounce-back and were all keen to get back to some nor­mal­ity as quickly as pos­si­ble.

“This will en­com­pass thor­ough clean­ing regimes, so­cial dis­tanc­ing and hand sani­tis­ing mea­sures as part of the daily pro­gramme,” he said.

“To ac­com­mo­date the new mea­sures and pro­vide a safe en­vi­ron­ment for our cus­tomers to en­joy means our open­ing hours will have to be ad­justed for the fore­see­able fu­ture.

“It is not go­ing to be like turn­ing a light switch on.

“We are al­ready work­ing on what Phase 3 of the route map might look like for the char­ity and have iden­ti­fied that the in­creased use of tech­nol­ogy will be vi­tal to the process of re­open­ing, en­abling cus­tomers to book spa­ces and help us man­age ca­pac­ity within sites to en­sure an en­joy­able ex­pe­ri­ence.

“We will mon­i­tor the guide­lines closely over the com­ing weeks and will fully im­ple­ment any fur­ther steps that may be re­quired to pro­tect peo­ple us­ing our gym space, for ex­am­ple, prior to open­ing.”

HLH will pro­vide fur­ther up­dates through its web­site and so­cial me­dia chan­nels once dates and timescales are con­firmed.

Mean­while, HLH board chair­man Ian Ross has thanked the hun­dreds of HLH staff on fur­lough leave for vol­un­teer­ing dur­ing the cri­sis.

He said: “They have been us­ing their work-re­lated skills and qual­i­fi­ca­tions to vol­un­teer and as­sist with es­sen­tial work in com­mu­ni­ties across the High­lands.”

 ??  ?? FLUID SIT­U­A­TION: In­ver­ness Botanic Gar­dens, among other fa­cil­i­ties, may be opened in line with Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment lock­down guide­lines
FLUID SIT­U­A­TION: In­ver­ness Botanic Gar­dens, among other fa­cil­i­ties, may be opened in line with Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment lock­down guide­lines

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