Update on the reopening of The Opinicon

The Opinicon has lived through many world events: wars, pandemics, economic collapses. Most were on distant shores and rarely pierced the bubble of its beautiful grounds. Today it finds itself, as we all do, in the middle of a species-level event. We know more about the virus, we have more mitigation strategies, but the next few years are likely going to be a yo-yo of emotions and restrictions until a solution is found and widely distributed.

Given this, I ask myself what is the safest and most logical choice for The Opinicon. An epidemiologist might say “if you can stay closed, stay closed.” A government might say “if you can safely open, then open.” A community might say “if you can help keep us safe, keep us safe.” A guest might say “just open up already, I miss your ice cream.” And most importantly, we know that many of our staff are itching to come back, while many others are deeply concerned about the health of those they live with should they contract the virus at work, or maybe a combination of both those feelings.

It’s a lot to process, which is why we have been taking a very conservative approach to reopening. I’m also painfully aware that weddings, vacationers, knitting groups, and others with overnight bookings are anxiously awaiting an update.

With that in mind, here’s the balance we will strike: The Opinicon will reopen on Friday September 11th as a dining establishment only (with the ice cream shop and the gas pump waiting for the warm rays of next summer). I am confident we can safely make the main building work, and provide a high quality of service and care for restaurant and pub patrons. Chaffey’s will get its beloved Opinicon back (slightly modified), and we can bring some of our staff back to work serving delicious food and cherished memories.

It pains me to say, but this decision will affect all overnight bookings currently on our books. Accommodation during a pandemic comes with heightened risks, and it’s a risk that I’m not brave enough to take. I’m deeply sorry to those affected by this decision. We will be reaching out to all existing cottage and mooring bookings to personally inform them and refund all deposits. For weddings we have offered a modified option, essentially transforming The Opinicon into a more traditional event venue, with no on-site accommodation.

With this decision my sincere hope is to preserve the heart of The Opinicon: the main lodge in all its glory and the mint-green ice cream shop filled with smiles; the craft markets and holiday celebrations; the music wafting through the air and the soul-filling sight of people enjoying each other’s company.

We look forward to serving you again.