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When your business sells social activity and togetherness, planning for social distancing is not easy, Ohau Snow Field and Lake Ohau Lodge owner Mike Neilson says.

Mr Neilson is optimistic the ski season will go ahead this year, although he said it would not be a normal experience.

He had planned to open Ohau Snow Field on June 27, and was still aiming for that.

“We’re in the hands of the Government,” Mr Neilson said.

“But we’re ready to open the doors and run the lifts as soon as we are able to.”

Applications for season passes were open and there had been a steady level of inquiry.

Alert Level 2 would, hopefully, allow for Lake Ohau Lodge to reopen, with social distancing measures in place.

But it would not be easy.

“I’m absolutely flummoxed. Usually I can think of a way around a problem and figure it out, but I’ve got no idea how you can sell virtual social closeness,” Mr Neilson said.

“We’ve got a bar and a restaurant and a cafeteria and everyone sits in tight and close with each other – you chat and you talk together and that’s what we sell, we sell that social activity.”

At this time of year, most of Lake Ohau Lodge’s business was international tour groups.

“They’ve all cancelled, and all of our [Alps 2 Ocean] cycle trail business, one by one they cancelled as well.”

It was a “very, very worrying scene”, he said.