RICHMOND, Va. – Kings Dominion and Busch Gardens Williamsburg will not reopen next week when Virginia further eases restrictions on businesses and public gatherings put in place earlier this year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The amusement parks say reopening is not economically feasible if only 1,000 people can be allowed in at a time, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported Wednesday. Gov. Ralph Northam’s plan for the state’s Phase 3 of reopening allows entertainment venues to open at 50% capacity or a maximum of 1,000 people.
"Although we respect the decisions of our state officials, the restriction of limiting our park to just 1,000 guests does not reflect the large volume of space available to accommodate recommended social distancing protocols, and essentially suggests the state will only allow us to have five people per operating acre," Kings Dominion spokeswoman Maggie Sellers said in a statement.
Sellers said Kings Dominion hopes its reopening plans will be carefully considered by government officials and a separate decision is made regarding amusement parks in the state.
Busch Gardens Williamsburg may not reopen until "well into July" and Water Country USA may not welcome patrons at all this season, park President Kevin Lembke told the James City County's Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.
"We are extremely disappointed in this guidance (for Phase 3) and feel it does not accurately take into account the comprehensive safety plan our parks have put forward," Lembke said.
The newspaper reported that the amusement parks’ reopening plans include requiring guests to make a reservation. Visitors and employees would undergo temperature screenings before entering the parks and would be required to wear masks.