Theme parks cautiously reopening in Coronavirus era

May’s finally here, and it’s finally that time to get things kicked off for the summer. At the expense of the Coronavirus, theme parks around the country had to hold off on opening until given the green light. With the country finally reopening for business and loosening restrictions, American families cannot wait to enjoy the weather they’ve all been waiting for. Families being contained to their homes under the stay-at-home directive was no thrill ride. Theme parks may be opening soon, but not without strict sanitary, safety, and social distancing measures. This coming season may be fun, but health and safety of all guests will be the name of the game. What are the top Coronavirus related safety measures theme parks will be implementing this year? Guests should rest assured, that 2020 will not be a season of fear. This will be a season of excitement, but with health and safety first.

At #5, is social distance: Ever since the start of the Coronavirus outbreak, all Americans were directed to stay at home and keep a safe social distance away from others if not feeling well. Social distance has been a challenge for many Americans, especially at this time of year. With weather gradually improving, and the temperature gradually rising, more and more people are expected to be in busy places at one time. Throughout their visit to any theme park, guests are encouraged to maintain a safe six feet social distance from anyone whom they don’t feel comfortable being near. It’s that simple. Social distance will be no joke, especially at theme parks. Further, guests must be aware of guests around them and be aware of their surroundings. If guests should see anyone who appears to be showing illness symptoms, they should immediately contact the park’s First Aid team. Social distance makes a significant difference.

Coming in at #4 is the sanitizing of attractions and guest gathering areas. All throughout the Coronavirus scare, health officials have said it loud and clear to avoid large crowds. That is true. At major theme parks, keeping attractions of all types clean and safe is first and foremost for all staff. Before park opening, at park closing, and regularly throughout the day, theme park staff will be sanitizing and cleaning major guest areas. Major attractions such as roller coaster cues, roller coaster trains, water rides, children’s ride vehicles, and so forth will be subject to a thorough cleaning. Whatever keeps a theme park germ-free, and the fun free-flowing, will go a long way.

#3 on the list is limiting park capacity. Yes, there will be days when the temperature will be soaring to the 80s and 90s. There have been days where it’s been hotter. Who doesn’t remember experiencing a day like that? Theme parks companies such as Disney and Six Flags will be limiting park capacity to avoid massive crowds. For instance, Six Flags Great Adventure will be requiring reservations prior to visiting. Busch Gardens has used this approach for many years. Limiting park capacity keeps the park from getting too jam packed, even on the not so busiest of days. When battling the Coronavirus, the fear of being around crowded areas was extremely high. Guests will need to be sure of what exact date(s) they’ll be visiting whichever park they’re nearest to. Theme parks will be very strict on the limiting of park capacity. Very likely, reservations will be the new normal.

Coming in at #2, is the opening to state residents only. Rather than opening the flood gates and letting guests file in through the front gates like a bat out of hell, major theme parks are seriously considering opening their doors to state residents first. With state residents only, theme parks won’t be as crowded as they usually are. State residents account for nearly 50% of a theme park’s intended capacity. This being said, visiting theme parks enforcing the “state residents only” phase may be out of the question for those visiting from out-of-state. Guests are strongly encouraged to do their research first before making plans to travel to Six Flags America in Washington, DC, Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, VA, or Kennywood Park in Pittsburgh, PA, or Dorney Park in Allentown, PA.

At #1, all theme park staff and guests will be asked to exercise patience. Without a doubt, this is going to be a trying kind of season. This is going to be the type of season which no one knows what to expect; the type of season which no one knows what could happen; and ultimately-the type of season which no one knows how the season will turn out when Fall approaches. Patience will be in the language spoken at all theme parks across the country. Yes, this will be a season which all guests will be on their toes, with much uncertainty on top of it. Patience will be the number one ingredient this 2020 season being a success in the wake of the most unprecedented global health crises ever encountered. Patience is will be the golden rule in place and the golden rule enforced.

Yes, this coming summer season is packed with anticipation. It’ll be a summer season with the type of anticipation of a whole other kind. The Coronavirus caused significant delays to theme park operations all across the country. From delayed openings pending state and federal directives to sanitary and safety measures being put in place, one can imagine what’s to be expected when walking through the front gate of any theme park. Will cue lines be long due to sanitary measures? Will all restrooms be available? Will all guest eating areas be open? What will the overall atmosphere be like as opposed to seasons prior? What will be the reaction of state residents? The answers all depend on the guests and staff combined. Social distance, sanitizing, limiting park capacity, and most of all-patience, will be the key factors which all theme parks will be closely monitoring. Summer 2020, despite the level of uncertainty, will be a season to reflect, and most of all-the season to remember that there is no substitute for safety.

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