FORT MILL, S.C. (WBTV) -The sights and sounds of Carowinds may soon be welcoming parkgoers. The park has been closed during the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders.
So when exactly will the gates open back up?
The people at Carowinds front office have been pretty tight lipped about a reopening date, but a North Carolina commissioner might have given us a clue on when it could be.
In a meeting on Tuesday, North Carolina Department of Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry told Governor Roy Cooper Carowinds was tentatively reopening July 27th. It is the first time a date has been given.
I reached out to the department’s spokesperson Natalie Bouchard who confirmed Berry said the date. Bouchard would not tell me who Berry got the date from. Bouchard also told me the department already inspected the North Carolina side of the park in March.
That means that state’s side is clear to open with the ok from the governor. Cooper has not said when amusement parks would reopen, even telling Berry the same.
When Berry asked “are you in favor of that?” to the tentative date. Cooper said “it is early to predict whether that can occur.”
As for the South Carolina side, Governor Henry McMaster announced two weeks ago amusement parks, like Carowinds, can reopen.
No matter when the amusement park reopens, there are still questions on what it will look like.
WBTV reached out to Carowinds spokesperson Lisa Stryker to find out what the park will look like when it’s reopened. Stryker sent an email that says any new updates from Carowinds will be posted to the website. It is a message WBTV has received a few times since the park closed.
Even though the Carowinds spokeperson isn’t saying what could be happening inside of the park, Carowinds’ parent company is giving some insight on possible requirements and safety measures.
A press release from Cedar Fair says the company will have safety plans from the beginning to the end of the day. Anyone coming to Cedar Fair’s parks will need a reservation to get inside. The reservation will have a time and date you can go.
When you enter the company’s parks, park workers will give you a health check including filling out a health form. It does not say if there will be a temperature check.
The press release says they are enhancing the company’s apps to direct people to available restrooms and hand sanitizer stations. It is an effort to prevent overcrowding. The app will also show capacity warnings.
Stryker says Cedar Fair sets the rules Carowinds follows, but could not go into detail on how they will be executed. A handful of people say they would be ok with the new safety changes.
”I think anything to get our three kids out of the house we will take all of the precautions that we need to," says one person.
”As long as they’re taking the precautions and I’m making sure I social distance from everybody else then that’s fine with me as well," says another.
Here is a full list of the safety measures from Cedar Fair:
Planning and preparation:
- Guests can make their required reservations online or through the mobile app, reserving a specific day and time to visit the park based upon capacity availability. The guest will receive a time-bound entry voucher, which will automatically appear in the guest’s mobile app when they are logged in.
- Guests who have purchased a season pass will be able to process their passes through the website or mobile app, rather than visiting the pass processing center within the park.
- Park mobile apps and websites will be enhanced with thorough information to prepare guests for changes they will see at the parks.
Arrival and entry:
- Upon arrival, the guest’s reservation will be confirmed and their ticket / season pass scanned.
- All guests entering the parks will be required to complete an initial health check; guests with the park’s mobile app can complete most aspects of the health questionnaire online prior to visiting.
- Targeted messages delivered through the mobile app will remind guests of new processes and procedures; in addition, the app will provide real time alerts regarding any capacity constraints that may affect their visit.
Enjoying the park:
- Enhanced cashless payment methods are being introduced to reduce touchpoints and expenses, as well as improve efficiency and throughput.
- Mobile food ordering is being expanded to at least four parks in 2020 to improve guest service and eliminate long lines at selected food locations.
- The mobile app’s mapping and wayfinding modules, which already allow guests to easily find things like restrooms and phone charging stations, are being leveraged to monitor potential overcrowding in various areas of the park throughout the day; this will help determine where to deploy crowd control measures and enable appropriate social distancing. These modules will also direct guests to the closest hand sanitizing stations.
Exiting the park:
- Enhanced guest surveys will provide the park with firsthand feedback about their visit and the updated protocols and processes for continuous improvement.
- Location services on the mobile app will be able to help manage guest flow and maximize park capacity without sacrificing safety.
Cedar Fair continues its work with state and local authorities and will advise the public on definitive park opening dates as they become known.