Disney and Universal theme parks receive most of the attention, but many other businesses are planning their reopening strategies, too.
In a post-pandemic society, places like Busch Gardens and Six Flags must protect guests from the potential spread of COVID-19.
At the same time, these companies need to earn revenue and can’t afford to sit out the lucrative summer season.
Let’s take a quick look at how these businesses are approaching guest safety.
While SeaWorld’s in chaos right now due to leadership issues and financial shortcomings, this company has done a tremendous job in updating potential guests about its pandemic strategy.
We know that Busch Gardens and SeaWorld will prioritize the following methods:
- Reduced capacity during shows and rides
- Reduced park capacity on reopening
- Required face masks for employees and guests alike
- Temperature checks to prevent the risk of infection
- Daily visitor limits
- Encouraging cashless transactions to protect guests and workers
- Enhanced cleaning techniques at rides, restaurants, and bathrooms
- Hand sanitizer stations in key areas
- Possibility of virtual queuing for popular rides
- Social distancing requirements on rides and at restaurants
Park officials have remained silent about Dollywood’s pandemic strategies. The park nearly opened on March 18th before delaying. Since then, Dollywood has laid off 630 employees and kept them in the dark about what will happen next.
However, the state of Tennessee loosened its restrictions on Friday. During “hibernation mode," employees can’t do much, but they’d already implemented measures in March. Those include:
- 300+ hand sanitation stations across the Dollywood campus
- Disinfecting high contact points repeatedly throughout the day
- Following the latest food and beverage safety guidelines
- Increased employee safety training
- Posting CDC guidelines and hygienic tactics on park signs
Europa-Park will reopen in a matter of days. So, the park has already released its official guidelines for customer safety. They include:
- Contactless payments
- Daily visitor limits with day-specific ticket sales
- Employee training in antiviral cleaning techniques
- Social distancing markers throughout the park
- Disinfection stations available near attractions
- Frequent employee wipe-downs of surfaces
- “new, digital technology in regard to queue management”
The Dallas News summed up the situation best with this headline: “Your next trip to Six Flags will take serious advance planning.”
The company hasn’t confirmed when any of its theme parks will return. However, it has posted guidelines about precautionary measures in place. Here are a few:
- Advanced reservations required
- Pre-paid parking
- Reduction/elimination of on-site customer transactions to minimize employee/guest interactions
While these aren’t verified, USA Today speculates that Six Flags will also do the following:
- Elimination of theater showings
- Hand sanitizer stations
- Mobile food ordering
- Regular employee wipe-downs of heavily-trafficked areas
You’ll notice that many of these strategies share commonalities. Theme parks are in frequent contact with the CDC. So, they’re following the suggested guidelines to maximize guest and employee safety.
The one logical outcome from these changes is that digital queueing, akin to FastPasses at Disney parks, is likely to become a more significant aspect of park visits.