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Waitaki Aquatic Centre manager Matthew Lanyon.

Despite waves caused by the nation’s transition to Red traffic light restrictions, operations at the Waitaki Aquatic Centre are going swimmingly.

Centre manager Matthew Lanyon said for the first time in two years the pool was experiencing ‘‘normal operations’’.

‘‘Our uptake on swimming lessons and use has been very positive, we are starting to see some use like we had a couple of years ago,’’ Mr Lanyon said.

‘‘It’s great to see that people have got confidence and are happy coming back.’’

There had been quite a few people travelling from outside the district to use the pool, which is not requiring vaccine passes at present, he said.

About 60% of council-owned pools in New Zealand had opted to adopt the passes, and 95% of those pools were attached to a gym or cafe — which required vaccine passes Dunedin’s Moana Pool and Timaru’s Caroline Bay Trust Aoraki Centre fell into that category, and as a result people living in those areas had limited options for swimming.

‘‘We’re adopting a risk-based approach and if you look at the risk in the community at the moment, you’d have to agree that the risk is not high.’’

The community risk would continue to be monitored and changes would be made accordingly, Mr Lanyon said.

‘‘We are constantly doing risk assessments and putting things in place to ensure that we are operating in a safe manner for our team and for customers.’’

In the past week, safety precautions had been increased at the centre, such as requiring people to wear masks when they were not swimming and altering entry and exit points.

‘‘That’s really with a view that at some stage we are going to have [Covid-19] in the community.

‘‘We might not have it right at the moment, but we probably are in the next few weeks, so it doesn’t hurt to get into the habit of [putting] more safety precautions in place.’’

As required by the Ministry of Education, school groups could only use the pool if no other users were around, he said. For the first school term, the public would be excluded from the pool as school lessons were on.

‘‘When you think about our horrific drownings in New Zealand over summer, getting those kids into the pool and having lessons definitely outweighs the very light, few people that we had coming in at that time.’’

The centre’s biggest challenge lay in finding staff.

‘‘We are still having a lot of trouble recruiting staff — we are not the only industry in the area or the country that’s having those sorts of issues.

‘‘If anybody is looking for a job, we want to talk to them.’’