New York Announces Allowed Reopening Dates for Amusement Parks
2020 proved to be a difficult year for amusement parks in New York. While parks in surrounding states like Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Connecticut were able to open for at least portions of their 2020 operating seasons, amusement parks in New York were left shuttered for the season. Fortunately, the future is looking bright for 2021!
Today, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that indoor family entertainment centers and places of amusement can open with a 25 percent capacity limit beginning Friday, March 26, while outdoor amusement parks can open with a 33 percent capacity limit beginning Friday, April 9. In New York, outdoor amusement parks include Luna Park at Coney Island, Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, Six Flags Darien Lake, The Great Escape, Seabreeze Park, and the soon-to-open LEGOLAND New York, whose 2020 debut was pushed to 2021 as a result of the ongoing global pandemic.
In a statement released today, Stephanie Johnson, divisional director of LEGOLAND New York Resort said:
“We are thrilled with Governor Cuomo’s announcement for the reopening of family attractions, including outdoor theme parks. This means LEGOLAND New York Resort will be able to celebrate its grand opening this season as planned and we look forward to sharing more details soon.
Our first priority is always the health, safety and security of our guests and our team. We are awaiting further guidance from New York State on specific safety and operating procedures, which we will follow alongside all federal and local health and safety guidelines.”
Like in other amusement parks around the country, all facilities must submit reopening plans with health protocols to their local health department. Face coverings and social distancing will be required for all customers and staff, and customers will be required to have a health screening with temperature checks prior to entry.
“In New York, we base our decisions on the science and data and adjust as the virus adjusts,” Governor Cuomo said. “With continued decreases in the infection and hospitalization rates, we have been able to take steps toward beginning our post-COVID recovery and we are excited to now be in a place where we can bring back our recreational industries with safety protocols in place. As we’ve said time and time again, our success will be dictated by our actions and as long as we stay united and keep carrying this momentum forward in a positive direction, we will be able to see more and more sectors of our economy reopen.”
In addition to face coverings, social distancing and mandatory health screenings, all indoor family and entertainment centers and places of amusement, and outdoor amusement parks, must follow the below guidelines:
- Contact information must be collected from each party to inform contact tracing, if needed;
- High-touch areas, attractions, and rides must be cleaned and disinfected frequently throughout the day;
- Attractions must close if they cannot ensure distancing and be frequently cleaned/disinfected;
- Sufficient staff must be deployed to enforce compliance with rules, including capacity, distancing and face coverings;
- Tickets should be sold in advance, and entry/exit and waiting times should be staggered to avoid congestion;
- Indoor areas must meet enhanced air filtration, ventilation and purification standards; and
- Retail, food services and recreational activities must abide by all State-issued guidance.
While no official re-opening dates have been announced yet, it’s great to see New York’s Amusement Parks take a step in the right direction. In addition to the debuting LEGOLAND park, Deno’s Wonder Wheel is scheduled to open two new roller coasters: the Vekoma family inverted coaster, Phoenix (an honorable mention in our most anticipated roller coasters in 2021) and the family friendly Skyflyer, from SBF-Visa. Pre-pandemic, Great Escape was scheduled to open Adirondack Outlaw, a 16-story swing ride from ARM, while Six Flags Darien Lake was scheduled to open Wahoo Wave inside the park’s water park.
Are you a New Yorker excited for your parks to open? Let us know in the comments below!