Wagga Oasis Back in the Swim - How COVID affected Wagga Oasis Aquatic Centre

by Louise Magee on October 07, 2020

COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the Aquatic and Recreation industry. We asked Wagga Oasis Aquatic Centre Manager Maurice Eames how they have managed over the past 6 months, and what plans they have in place to maintain operations of a facility relied on by so many in the regional city of Wagga Wagga NSW.

We closed on the 23rd March 2020 due to COVID-19 and remained closed until Saturday 13th June approx 12 weeks, during this period the challenge was what to do with our 13 fulltime staff. With the support council we were able to keep everyone engaged and we commenced a major overhaul of all our behind the scene process e.g. Procedures, SWP, documents. During this period, we also gave the entire centre a major clean and tidy at all times following safe COVID-19 health directions.

Unfortunately, we could not retain any of casual staff and we had to stand-down over 60 casual staff, again council was very supportive and provide short-term financial support to our casual staff.

When we re-opened on Saturday 13th June, we were again confronted with many challenges e.g. COVID Safe practices but we persisted and have had great results considering all factors.

We are now back to near normal operations with some restrictions and process still in-place.

We have introduced the following key points but not limited:

  • Dedicated COVID-19 SAFETY MARSHALL (Extra Rostered Staff) The COVID-19 Safety Marshals’ will be present during high patronage times and the COVID-19 Marshals’ role is to take reasonable actions to ensure that all staff, patrons and other people on-site comply with COVID Safe practices, such as physical distancing, capacity limits, infection control, and hygiene rules.
  • COVID Tracer QR code to assist with attendance recording.
  • One advantage of the COVID-19 has resulted in the need to increase our Aqua Aerobic classes by adding 4 more classes per week to accommodate the 20 per class limit and bookings required.
  • Our overall numbers both attendances and programs have taken a slight hit, but not to the level we were expecting.
  • Our Learn to Swim class bookings are steady and returning to strong level’s the challenge we now face is the shortage of casual staff instructors due to finding new employment and lack of University Students returning to Wagga.

 The daily key processes that we ensure are being followed and maintained by all are:

  • Oasis COVID-19 Safety Plan
  • Oasis COVID Tracer QR
  • Oasis Sign in sheet
  • User groups COVID-19 Safety Plans (Conditions) for all sports or schools using Oasis
  • Oasis COVID-19 Restrictions
  • Café Operator COVID-19 Safety Plan
  • Oasis - COVID-19 Safe Hygiene Marshal
  • Staff Health Measures
  • Maintain physical distance where practical

 The key message we operate to within these times is Consistent, Safe, Clean, Review and Act.