Vök Baths Still Afloat, Although Temporarily Closed

A bird's-eye view of Vök Baths.

A bird's-eye view of Vök Baths.

Vala Hafstað

“On my last day on the job, a statement arrived from the government [regarding stricter disease prevention measures] and subsequently, we had to close,” Heiður Vigfúsdóttir, former managing director of Vök Baths, located in Egilsstaðir, East Iceland, tells Morgunblaðið .

She just left her job with the company, where she has worked for four years. These unique baths, with their floating pools, opened in July of last year.

“I accepted the job four years ago, thinking that once the baths had been operating for a year, I’d pass it off to someone else,” Heiður states. “Now, I’m waiting for a new managing director to arrive.” Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the hiring of someone to replace Heiður has been delayed.

From Vök Baths.

From Vök Baths.

The operation has been tough during the pandemic, since there are next to no tourists in the country. “We’re closed at the moment,” Heiður states, “but the plan is to maintain regular operating hours this winter. We’ll stay open every workday and longer on weekends.”

Planning has been difficult during the pandemic. “What has happened, however, is that the locals have welcomed the baths,” Heiður notes. “People with an annual membership are close to a thousand, which surely makes a difference.”

Heiður will be keeping busy after leaving this job. She will continue building her own travel business, Austurfarar, founded in 2011, focusing on a variety of projects intended to attract more visitors to East Iceland.

“Being an entrepreneur is in my blood, and I knew my participation in Vök Baths would be temporary only,” Heiður states. “I wanted to help get this running and to put my mark on the project. After a year in operation, I felt I had reached my goals, making it ideal for someone else to step in. Despite the coronavirus, building this business has gone well, and the customers are pleased with the result. I now switch back to the entrepreneurial mode, which to me is always appealing.”

Heiður Vigfúsdóttir.

Heiður Vigfúsdóttir.

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