THEME parks across the UK may be forced to make drastic changes if they open this year, according to new guidelines from UKHospitality.
Guests may find a very different experience, but shouldn’t expect to go back any time soon.
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Theme parks may have to follow strict new guidelines to be able to reopen, such as leaving seats empty on ridesCredit: DANIEL LEWIS
The new restrictions have warned of the measures attractions will have to put into place if they are able to open.
The trade body issued the 75-document proposal to the government as the hospitality industry hopes to reopen by July.
Rollercoaster and ride capacity will have to be much lower, with the middle seat being left empty, according to the Telegraph.
Shows and concerts may have to be cancelled, while end of day parades will have to maintain strict distances between both guests and staff.
Guests may much longer queues to enter the parks if capacity is limited.
Legoland is also sadly still empty ahead of the summer seasonCredit: Dan Charity – The Sun
While the lockdown in the UK is being lowered in different phases, theme parks may be the last to open.
The new government guidelines read: “You will still not be able to use areas like playgrounds, outdoor gyms or ticketed outdoor leisure venues, where there is a higher risk of close contact and touching surfaces.”
Thorpe Park, Alton Towers and Drayton Manor have all remained closed for the season, with no estimated dates of when to reopen.
Richard Mancey, who chairs the British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions told the Telegraph that parks need to open by July and August or face problems reopening at all.
He said: “If we don’t get open by the summer season, a lot will be in serious trouble, even the big parks, who have more cash reserves.”
Other theme parks around the world have already suggested strict changes being made to be allowed to open again this year.
Social distancing markers may be installed, like at Hong Kong attractions pictured hereCredit: AFP or licensors
Disney World in Florida is considering temperature checks at the gates, as well as enforced masks on guests entering the park.
Other changes could include virtual queues, already in place at the new Star Wars attractions, as well as cast members being forced to stay at least 2m away from guests.
Shanghai Disney is the first Disney park to have reopened earlier this month, having been closed since January.
Along with temperature checks and masks, the park is only open at 30 per cent capacity and floor markings have been installed to ensure distances are kept.
Advance reservations are required and visitors are assigned times to enter.
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Theme parks in Europe are already planning to open later this month.
Efteling, in the Netherlands, and Europa-Park, in Germany, are welcoming guests back by the end of May.
Universal Orlando has also started opening on a restricted basis.
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