Nevis Range is now working towards reopening in July, the resort said as Scottish Government lockdown restrictions looked to be set to ease.

Staff at the snowsports, mountain biking and outdoor activities centre have been working to put new safety measures in place, including thermal screening, increased cleaning procedures and, of course, social distancing.

Both foot passengers and cyclists using the mountain gondola will be asked to wear face coverings when it opens.

Chris O’Brien, chief executive at Nevis Range, said the move is provisional and dependent on guidance.

He said: “We have been working closely with the Scottish Government since the start of the lockdown, with advance notice of a re-opening date a top priority for us.

“We are understandably extremely pleased to be able to announce that Scottish Tourism Businesses will be able to reopen on July 15. We have also been led to believe that the new guidance for Phase Three will specifically mention gondolas and chairlifts when it is published."

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He conitnued: “However, I would stress that this official date is provisional and could change if there are any flare ups with the virus. As soon as Nevis Range is able to confirm an opening date, we’ll get that out over all of our social media platforms.

“Whilst an opening date is very good news, all of the challenges that we face will remain the same. The initial phase means we can open; the two metre social distancing rules will remain in place; eating in our restaurants will be  possible but the two metre social distancing rules must be observed; and mountain gondola travel will be in singles or for groups of two or more  that have travelled to Nevis Range together and customers will be asked to wear face coverings.”

He said: “When we do open, due to the nature of the financial crisis that we find ourselves in, we will be operating on a Wednesday to Sunday basis, making exceptions around bank holidays, and we plan to carry on with this five-day week operation throughout the rest of the summer.

“Over the next few weeks, we will start to advertise Nevis Range products and bookings in conjunction with all of the new measures that the business will be taking to ensure our compliance with current guidelines."

Mr O’Brien added: “Very sadly there will be some redundancies at Nevis Range as we try to return to a sound financial footing in order to keep delivering quality outdoor activities and events for all of our customers all year round.

“Despite all of the challenges and tough decisions we are having to make as a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic, there is still a mood of cautious optimism amongst the team. Whilst many of our projects have been cancelled due to funding pressures and a catastrophic loss of revenue, we are continuing with our Blue Bike Track, a new blue graded, uplift accessible, trail and hope to have that open in May 2021.”

It said analysis of Nevis Range’s annual customer data suggests the centre attracts around 75% of its annual visitors between May and September – Mountain Biking, including the UK round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup.

The Covid-19 lockdown also came at the worst time for Scottish Snowsports enthusiasts who would have had some of the best spring conditions in years at Nevis Range.

With a good amount of snow falling in March the centre had more than enough coverage to offer snowsports activities well into May, it said.