CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - One of North Carolina’s oldest parks, Tweetsie Railroad, is closed again after NCDHHS officials said the train could no longer run during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The news comes just over a week after the park announced they were reopening.
At that time, Tweetsie Railroad let people aboard its open-air train show at 50 percent capacity. Its stores reopened but the majority of the park, including amusement rides, remained closed.
This past weekend, July 24 to 26 were the last days of limited operations.
“Tweetsie Railroad has received notification from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services that we are not permitted to run the train. Thus, we have no choice but to close the park and cancel upcoming special events, including K-9s in Flight, Railroad Heritage Weekend, and Ghost Train,” the website states.
The message continues, “When parks like ours are cleared to open in North Carolina, we will reevaluate the possibility of welcoming guests back to Tweetsie Railroad and hosting Tweetsie Christmas.”
The previous weekend, the park had a Golden Rail Season Pass Holders Priority Weekend, giving season pass holders the first chance to reserve a train ride.
Officials with Tweetsie told WBTV on July 17 that one main reason they were able to reopen was by keeping all the amusement park rides shut down.
Only main street with shopping and dining and the train rides were going to be part of the Tweetsie experience, they said, adding that Tweetsie has never been shut down for such an extended period during a summer since the attraction opened 63 years ago.
Tweetsie Railroad officials said the park is following North Carolina state and federal CDC regulations.
The park was requiring all guests 11-years-old and older to wear face coverings and to keep six feet apart from other guests.
The park also instituted additional cleaning and sanitizing procedures throughout the facilities, among several other changes for safety.
All those changes were for naught, it seems, with the park now being closed. There is no word on when they might reopen.
Chris Robbins of Tweetsie says people are heartbroken over the closures and everyone is still at a loss as to why they were allowed to re-open and then told to close.
“It’s very frustrating and disheartening,” Robbins said.
He is hoping things will change in time to do preparations for a Christmas event
“But we would need to know early enough to have everything done,' Robbins said, “possibly by the beginning of October.”
If not, officials say they are determined to come back in 2021.