Six Flags St. Louis will be upping its safety measures when it reopens this year, in an attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Though the popular local theme park has not yet announced a reopening date, a press release
last week from Six Flags Entertainment Corporation revealed that the entire chain of parks will be requiring guests to complete online reservations before coming to the park, so as to aid in the implementation of social distancing.
“The health and safety of our guests and team members is always our highest priority and in the current environment, we certainly want to take extra precautions to create a safe experience for everyone,” Six Flags President and CEO Mike Spanos says in a statement
. “We are excited about reopening our parks and getting back to the business of fun; however, we want to do so in the safest possible manner. By having guests pre-register before they visit, we can plan ahead with proper staffing and sanitization measures, including ensuring that guests and team members maintain safe social distancing throughout the day.”
According to the amusement park company, the reservation process will take about five to seven minutes, and will feature five steps. Guests will be required to:
-Enter their online order number, ticket number, or Membership/Season Pass number
-Select the date they want to visit, and the approximate time they wish to enter the park
-Watch a brief video that describes new social distancing and sanitization procedures
-Acknowledge their understanding of the company’s health policy
-Order pre-paid parking, if they do not already have a pass
If the date on which a guest plans to visit is already booked up, they will have the option to be put on a waitlist. Should someone cancel and free up a space, staff will contact that person via email or text to let them know that a slot on the day they'd like to visit is now open.
In addition to the new reservation system, Six Flags has put together an expansive list of health and safety protocols dubbed the Six Flags Re-Opening Plan
That plan will require all guests over the age of two and all employees to wear masks covering the nose and mouth at all times on the property, except in some cases of disability or religious exemption, as well as when guests are in one of the water attractions in Hurricane Harbor. Masks will be available for purchase at the front gate. The company will also screen all guests and employees with temperature checks to be sure no one on the premises has a fever.
Additionally, the plan says that Six Flags will strictly enforce social distancing protocols. The park will operate at reduced capacity and will provide markers encouraging those waiting in lines to stand six feet apart, and dining and water park seating areas will be reconfigured to keep people at a greater distance from one another. Employees will be tasked with encouraging people to keep their distance.
Those social distancing measure extend to the rides themselves as well. According to the reopening plan, strategies for placing distance between guests on the rides will vary from attraction to attraction, but will include empty rows of seats and empty seats within rows to separate riders.
The company will also introduce increased santitization measures, regularly disinfecting all "high touch" points including chairs, tubes, tables and benches. Hand-washing and hand-sanitizing stations will be places throughout the park, and the bathrooms will be cleaned regularly. Cleaning teams will likewise continuously clean the rides, as well as dining, cabana and locker areas.
Items used to play games in the park will be sanitized between uses when possible, otherwise guests will be given gloves. Arcades will also be reconfigured to maximize social distancing.
The dining experience at Six Flags will be affected by the new measures as well. Open-access buffets, cutlery and condiment stations will be eliminated outright, and only unused cups will be allowed at beverage filling stations. Mobile food ordering will be implemented as well, with modified menus.
And just in case guests start to lose the plot in regard to the more stringent measures, Six Flags' in-park network of televisions will feature regular messaging about social distancing and staying germ-free.
“We have developed a comprehensive reopening safety plan that includes best practices from theme park and waterpark industry experts, along with top destination parks from around the world, which will allow guests to experience our parks in the safest possible way," Spanos says in a statement
. "This ’new normal’ will be very different, but we believe these additional measures are appropriate in the current environment.”
While Six Flags St. Louis has not yet announced a date for reopening, the company plans to open the doors to Frontier City, its Oklahoma-based location, on June 5.
Read the company's full reopening plan here
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