As lockdown tentatively eases in some American states, furloughed employees are returning to jobs they weren’t sure would still exist just a few weeks ago.
Like the mermaids at one Montana bar.
Punters choosing to patronise the Sip ‘N Dip Lounge at the O’Haire Motor Inn in Great Falls, Montana will be greeted by the sight of mythical creatures once again swimming in the pool visible to those sitting in the bar thanks to a glass wall separating the two.
Dressed in traditional impressive tails and equipped with goggles (and a mask, in a nod to the current pandemic), the Sip ‘N Dip’s 'mermaids' have returned after eight weeks furloughed from their roles, reports NBC 15.
At first, when owner Sandra Thares asked if the nightly mermaid shows could resume when the rest of the tiki bar re-opened, regulators said no.
But after negotiations it was agreed the mermaids could return to their natural habitat providing only one was in the pool at any given time.
On Wednesday, the first mermaid made her return after 47 days away, saying she was “thrilled” to be back.
“There’s always the worry if I can still do this job,” Katie Heryla told KRTV.
It’s definitely very physically demanding so I never know getting into it whether I can get through a whole shift. It’s exciting and nerve wracking. But I’m thrilled to get back and see everybody, especially all of our regulars. Being the first one back, I am super proud.
The bar still faces restrictions; patrons can’t take pictures with the mermaids for now and capacity is limited.
But for the mermaids, who will receive one four-hour shift a week, having at least some of their income restored is pretty magical.
“It will be great to have everybody back to normal one day,” Heryla said. “I know we have to get there the right way, but when everybody is back and we’re having a good time with patrons it will be worth it.