Mývant Nature Baths Forced to Turn Some Guests Away

Vala Hafstað

Mývatn Nature Baths, North Iceland, has recently only been able to receive a quarter of the people interested in coming there. This is due to restrictions on the maximum number of people allowed to gather and the 2-meter social distancing rule, Morgunblaðið reports.

Friday last week, the maximum number of people allowed to gather at once was reduced from 500 to 100 and the 2-meter social distancing rule made mandatory.

Manager Guðmundur Þór Birgisson states that to their delight, demand has been beyond expectations.  “Still, we’ve had to limit our supply, due to disease prevention rules, which have limited the number of guests we can receive,” he explains. “We receive about 25 percent of the number of people that otherwise would be coming, but of course we are delighted to be able to stay open.”

About 400 people visit the baths a day. In early July, that number was about 1,600 a day, so clearly, the company is taking a considerable hit.

The baths succeeded in attracting a number of Icelanders by offering them a discount if they used a government-provided check of ISK 5,000 (USD 37; EUR 31) toward the entrance fee. The check, available to Icelanders only, was part of the government’s effort to encourage Icelanders to travel domestically this summer.

The number of foreign guests, too, has grown substantially since the beginning of summer, Guðmundur states.

A recent increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in Iceland worries him. “You worry about how things will turn out,” he admits. “It all depends on how well the spread of the virus can be contained. If that goes well, then we’ll be fine.”

In the wintertime, the majority of Mývatn Nature Baths’ visitors comes from abroad. “We are hopeful this battle [against the virus] will be successful,” he concludes.

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