For months, fans of Gold Fork Hot Springs have been asking the owners of Gold Fork Hot Springs if they had any plans to reopen in 2021. After weeks of silence we finally have an answer and not everyone is happy about it. 

The last update on Gold Fork Hot Springs's official Facebook account was posted on April 10 and read "For all the messages asking if we are open. No we are not." As the weeks dragged on patrons started speculating that it would never reopen or that three dazzling hot spring pools between Donnelly and McCall would be put up for sale.

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The business finally posted an update about their reopening plan on their website over the weekend. The grand reopening date of July 16, was met with more anger than celebration. In addition to listing the reopening date the update also included a new COVID policy:

"Proof of vaccination with photo ID required for entry. No unvaccinated persons will be admitted, this includes unvaccinated children."

The new policy has been met with criticism since the three COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States have not yet been fully approved by the FDA. While they have undergone intensive levels of safety testing, they're still being used under the FDA's "Emergency Use Authorization." While severe side effects of the vaccine are rare, some Idahoans are hesitant after seeing reports of anaphylaxis, blood clots and heart problems following vaccination.

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As of Friday, July 9 44.6% of Idahoans 12 and over who are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine have been fully vaccinated. That lags behind the national average of 55.8%.

Patrons were also quick to point out the new policy no longer allows them to consider Gold Fork Hot Springs part of their family vacation as kids under the age of 12 are not eligible to receive a vaccine yet.

While the negative comments largely outweighed the positive, a handful of patrons thanked Gold Fork for the new policy while others simply said "good, less crowded for me."

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