Altons Towers, located in Stafforshire, UK has now been closed for more than 10 weeks and recently announced that all theme park bookings until 3rd July must be moved. Today on their official Facebook page, they announced the details of the current safety guidelines that will be put into place when the theme park gets the green light to reopen its gates. Here in the UK, we are beginning to shortly see some schools opening as well as non-essential businesses.
A team of experts at Alton Towers have been working very hard to devise a comprehensive reopening plan, including all the measures to be put into place in order to comply with government guidelines to provide a safe environment for all employees and guests in light of the current climate where COVID-19 is still present.
Alton Towers, alongside Thorpe Park, Chessington World of Adventures and LEGOLAND Windsor (three of the UKs other most popular theme parks) are owned by Merlin Entertainments and therefore have access to expert knowledge across the globe. Some of the attractions owned by Merlin have already reopened. This has allowed Alton Towers to use the valuable experience from those employees to inform their plans to ensure reopening goes as smoothly as possible and will hopefully be as successful as possible. The Merlin Health and Safety team had a very important job to do to quickly accumulate a set of reopening guidelines that would be tweaked for each individual attraction in each country across the world to ensure necessary government guidelines are being followed to the letter.
Health, Safety and Security Director, Jonathan Ellis outlines in detail everything that is currently to be expected here. In summary, these are all the measures that will be put into place when the gates reopen:
- Restricted numbers and advance booking - with a phased opening planned there will be a strict limit on the number of guests that are able to visit the park each day. The report states that they are looking at an online way of selling tickets, which is likely to be similar to booking their annual fireworks event. This process has yet to be finalised and detailed as to exactly how these measures will be implemented is expected soon.
- Temperature Tests and Health Monitoring - temperature tests will be done on all employees and guests on arriving at the resort and guests are asked to stay at home if they feel unwell.
- Social Distancing at the Resort - spatial markers will be placed at known high guest gathering areas and in all queue lines for rides, attractions and food outlets. The same spatial markers will be seen in communal areas of the Resort accomodation as well as at toilet blocks. When riding, same household groups are said to be able to ride together with spacing between each household group.
- Enhanced Hygiene - Dozens of hand sanitiser dispensers will be installed around the resort, including at the entry and exit points for most rides and attractions. Employees will also wipe down any surface that is frequently touched at regular intervals throughout the day, with toilet facilities being deep cleaned every night.
- Protective Clothing - Employees at the theme park will be issued with protective clothing, including face masks and gloves, to keep themselves and guests safe. Government guidelines in the UK at the moment only require masks to be worn in indoor areas so guest mask wearing is currently said to be through choice. As of yet, it has not been confirmed whether masks can be worn on rides.
- Staff Training - alongside Merlin, new 'COVID-19' training will be given to employees to ensure the safe implementation of the measures that are being put into place to make ensure the safety of all staff and guests at Alton Towers.
When Alton Towers does reopen we are hoping to see The World of David Walliams and the new ride that headlines it, Gangsta Granny: The Ride. Check out, Gangsta Granny: The Ride To Headline New 'World of David Walliams', which we published back in January 2020 which outlines everything we are hoping to see when this new area opens.
We are still waiting to hear further news as to when Alton Towers will actually reopen it's gates to welcome guests again as well as when Merlin's other UK theme parks, Thorpe Park, Chessington World of Adventures and LEGOLAND Windsor will reopen.
Be sure to check out our News Page and Facebook Page daily to keep up to date with all the latest annoucements from the UK parks as well as Disney, Universal Orlando and SeaWorld along with all other theme parks across the world.
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