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Coronavirus: Impact on Theme Parks

Nicky Borrill

Active Member
Can’t read the story (geo-locked) But if this is due to profitability it doesn’t surprise me, many businesses, ourselves included, are forced to do the same in the UK whilst we have to operate under all these extra measures... They take more staff to administer, and so require a higher footfall to achieve a profit. The kind of footfall usually only seen at weekends.

That’s not a swing at the measures, they’re required, we need to keep people safe... But we, the public, also have to be understanding of changes and work with businesses to get through this.
 

Hyde

I Lied About My Age!
Staff member
Moderator
Social Media Team
Can’t read the story (geo-locked) But if this is due to profitability it doesn’t surprise me, many businesses, ourselves included, are forced to do the same in the UK whilst we have to operate under all these extra measures... They take more staff to administer, and so require a higher footfall to achieve a profit. The kind of footfall usually only seen at weekends.

That’s not a swing at the measures, they’re required, we need to keep people safe... But we, the public, also have to be understanding of changes and work with businesses to get through this.
Indeed it's part cost-saver; operating at 10,000 guests per day when you're used to 40k-60k daily attendance is a night and day comparison on profit margin. There's still indication that Cedar Point hasn't fully staffed up either, meaning a default to Halloween-style operations would allow the parks to ensure better staffing of rides and concessions. I wouldn't be surprised, in turn, if the park just wraps the season early as well, and doesn't run the entire length into October. ... Then again, if schools don't reconvene in-person for Ohio, maybe that's a boost in attendance for parents wanting to get kids out on the weekend.
😅

It turns out unprecedented times make for unprecedented business operations!
 

ECG

East Coast(er) General
Staff member
Administrator
I forgot to mention that Kings Island is doing the same thing. Starting next week the park will be closed on Wednesdays & Thursdays before switching over to weekends only after Aug. 16th. And other than Labor Day weekend, both parks will be closed for the month of September. If they also follow suit and decide to cancel their Halloween Haunt like Universal and Kennywood, then I wouldn't be surprised if Labor Day weekend will be it for the 2020 season.
Speaking of Kennywood, not sure if it's been mentioned, but they are closed Mondays & Tuesdays through August and then switch to weekends only (in addition to cancelling Phantom Fright Nights).
 

Dar

Member
After visiting Blackpool I noticed one of humanity's psychological quirks: people would wait in a long queue for a ride (and queues were LONG on Saturday), but as soon as the op said they were cleaning down for 10-15 minutes people left the line, even after already waiting 30 minutes!

Blackpool wasn't great at coronavirus, distancing wasn't really a thing on paths or in queues, heard they had 7,000 on park, enormous queues for everything. While most people were wearing masks, only a couple of staff members were enforcing masks in queues. The old guy on Derby Racers wasn't taking anybody's **** though; someone tried to pull the "I have a condition" trick, but magically had a mask up his sleeve when pressed for his disability wristband from guest services.

Revolution was loading every other row, meaning it had a capacity of 8 riders and a queue all the way to the bottom of the stairs. We didn't ride.
Big One was skipping the middle row on each car, the queue was out past where the old ticket booths were about an hour wait.
Icon was loading all seats, the queue was moving fairly quickly as a result. About 45 minutes including the makeshift switchback down towards avalanche. Started on 2 trains for our first ride, up to 3 for the end of the day. They were motoring through the queue though.
Nash and Dipper were skipping rows, the queues weren't awful and the crews seemed to be trying to get things moving ASAP. Nash was on 4 trains and Dipper on 2.
Didn't pay any attention to Streak because the queue was unacceptable for even a normal day!
Same for Infusion :p
Steeplechase had a huge queue but they were running all 3 lanes.
Avalanche can't handle a queue at the best of times, but they were at least filling the train.
All the flats and dark rides had massive queues too.
 
After visiting Blackpool I noticed one of humanity's psychological quirks: people would wait in a long queue for a ride (and queues were LONG on Saturday), but as soon as the op said they were cleaning down for 10-15 minutes people left the line, even after already waiting 30 minutes!
People get FAR more impatient if a queue is not moving, same as in traffic because you simply don't have an idea how long the standstill will take. Even if it is just a few minutes. Whenever I see a Big One wheel check I don't join the queue. 🤷‍♂️

There was quite some criticism about BPB's ramping up of admissions on Saturday.
Maybe it's too soon.

7000 is still less than half of the numbers on some Saturdays in the heyday 90s.
It was always going to be difficult to social distance when capacity was upped I reckon in a small park. Phantasialand must have the same problem.

In Germany it appears there is no social distancing at all anymore on rides going by a publicity photo of Piraten in Batavia that reopened today. Completely full boats.
But masks compulsory.
 
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Matt N

Well-Known Member
The situation in Europe is starting to worry me now; Boris Johnson has today declared that the second wave has begun in Europe. Now while I think that is slightly hasty wording, personally, I am worried by the recent spikes in countries like Spain, and other countries like France, Belgium and Germany are also seeing increasing levels of new cases.

While it doesn’t look too concerning at the moment on the face of it (even though Spain’s cases per 100,000 is more than double that of Britain’s, France’s is equal to Britain’s and Germany’s is almost 50% lower than Britain’s), cases in mainland Europe seem to be surging at the moment, and I fear that that could reach the UK in a week or two’s time. I’m starting to get scared that we could imminently be back to square one like we were in March/April, triggering huge national lockdowns once again.

Am I right to be fearful, or am I being too hasty and pessimistic?
 

Hyde

I Lied About My Age!
Staff member
Moderator
Social Media Team
The situation in Europe is starting to worry me now; Boris Johnson has today declared that the second wave has begun in Europe. Now while I think that is slightly hasty wording, personally, I am worried by the recent spikes in countries like Spain, and other countries like France, Belgium and Germany are also seeing increasing levels of new cases.

While it doesn’t look too concerning at the moment on the face of it (even though Spain’s cases per 100,000 is more than double that of Britain’s, France’s is equal to Britain’s and Germany’s is almost 50% lower than Britain’s), cases in mainland Europe seem to be surging at the moment, and I fear that that could reach the UK in a week or two’s time. I’m starting to get scared that we could imminently be back to square one like we were in March/April, triggering huge national lockdowns once again.

Am I right to be fearful, or am I being too hasty and pessimistic?
I mean, don't kid yourself:
  1. Overall, we never saw the end of Wave 1 of Covid.
  2. Any country/state that goes lax on enforcement of social distancing/mask wearing will see a surge in Covid cases. And there will always be splash effect to neighboring areas.
  3. This will be the cycle until a vaccine is approved and readily available.
  4. Even the most aggressive vaccine timeline would have early, large-scale inoculation available late winter.
  5. Don't set expectations you can't meet - brace yourself for this style of life for the next year.
    1. Many large-scale office settings are now requiring/allowing employees to work from home the remainder of 2020. Google is not planning for employees to return to physical spaces until July 2021.

This is why in turn we, at least in America, are looking at a shortened amusement park season, with many seasonal parks calling it a wrap in August/September, rather than go to the end of October.

To look further into the future, I wouldn't be surprised if parks looked at a delayed start again in 2021, especially at the prospect of "who the hell knows what April 2021 looks like".

Until we have a vaccine, and you can easily access it - this is reality. And yes, it's changing, constantly.
 

Nicky Borrill

Active Member
The situation in Europe is starting to worry me now; Boris Johnson has today declared that the second wave has begun in Europe. Now while I think that is slightly hasty wording, personally, I am worried by the recent spikes in countries like Spain, and other countries like France, Belgium and Germany are also seeing increasing levels of new cases.

While it doesn’t look too concerning at the moment on the face of it (even though Spain’s cases per 100,000 is more than double that of Britain’s, France’s is equal to Britain’s and Germany’s is almost 50% lower than Britain’s), cases in mainland Europe seem to be surging at the moment, and I fear that that could reach the UK in a week or two’s time. I’m starting to get scared that we could imminently be back to square one like we were in March/April, triggering huge national lockdowns once again.

Am I right to be fearful, or am I being too hasty and pessimistic?
It’s not gone away Matt, and it won’t... It was never going to, not until there’s a vaccine or we do reach herd immunity.
Cases will rise and cases will fall. The question to be answered is whether this can be managed by localised controls and test and trace.

If it can’t, then I don’t know what’s going to happen, because I can’t see them putting the sword to the economy a second time... Smaller national shutdowns of certain sectors maybe? We’ll just have to wait and see.

I wouldn’t worry just yet. Keep everyone outdoors as much as possible, or wearing a mask when indoors, and it should never be as serious as the first peak. I think the time to really worry will be Autumn.

I still haven’t been shopping yet... As in to the Intu shopping centre... And I’ve been doing everything else as I normally would ;)
 
The situation in Europe is starting to worry me now; Boris Johnson has today declared that the second wave has begun in Europe. Now while I think that is slightly hasty wording, personally, I am worried by the recent spikes in countries like Spain, and other countries like France, Belgium and Germany are also seeing increasing levels of new cases.

While it doesn’t look too concerning at the moment on the face of it (even though Spain’s cases per 100,000 is more than double that of Britain’s, France’s is equal to Britain’s and Germany’s is almost 50% lower than Britain’s), cases in mainland Europe seem to be surging at the moment, and I fear that that could reach the UK in a week or two’s time. I’m starting to get scared that we could imminently be back to square one like we were in March/April, triggering huge national lockdowns once again.

Am I right to be fearful, or am I being too hasty and pessimistic?
There's no way there will be another complete UK lockdown ordered. The country will be finished economically with far more serious health consequences as a result than Covid 19. We and the next generation will already struggle to pay off the massive amount of government borrowing to pay for the furloughing that has gone on. As pointed out many companies have already made arrangements for much of their workforce to work from home. As we are mostly a services based economy now, that is possible and environmentally makes more sense. The danger of outsourcing WFH jobs abroad does worry me somewhat however and there might be some regulation needed to fight that.

As much as there is positive news about vaccines there is simply no guarantee there will be one or that it will be 100% effective.

Mask wearing may be here for years but definitely no more months of lockdown. No way. Certain industries will already hit the wall. It cannot be that this is ordered for everything. Not acceptable.

Good news is that Cineworld is reopening this coming weekend in England. Some nice classic movies to go and see if you have an unlimited card.
 

JammyH

Member
The situation in Europe is starting to worry me now; Boris Johnson has today declared that the second wave has begun in Europe. Now while I think that is slightly hasty wording, personally, I am worried by the recent spikes in countries like Spain, and other countries like France, Belgium and Germany are also seeing increasing levels of new cases.

While it doesn’t look too concerning at the moment on the face of it (even though Spain’s cases per 100,000 is more than double that of Britain’s, France’s is equal to Britain’s and Germany’s is almost 50% lower than Britain’s), cases in mainland Europe seem to be surging at the moment, and I fear that that could reach the UK in a week or two’s time. I’m starting to get scared that we could imminently be back to square one like we were in March/April, triggering huge national lockdowns once again.

Am I right to be fearful, or am I being too hasty and pessimistic?
Matt, you are spot on that we all need to be cautious, we all need to be conscious and keep up the good hand hygiene, social distancing and mask wearing. We must not be complacent, but we are in this for the long run. We could still be living with this level of the virus for months or years to come, no one knows at this point, so we must all try to resume some of our normal routines whilst taking the necessary precautions to keep ourselves safe.

Just because Boris Johnson declares something doesn't mean that it's factually correct.

If we take Germany, yes they have seen a rise in the 7 day average, but not at one point has their 7 day average per capita risen above ours, so Boris Johnson pointing at them saying they are starting a second wave is just pointing the finger to make it look like they are handling it worse than us. We have so many tools we didn't have at the beginning of the outbreak along with better treatments, and Germany has strict mask enforcement and good testing and contact tracing which can prevent the situation getting out of control. If there's one country im least worried about, it's Germany. If Germany goes down, the rest of Europe goes down with them. But their numbers are far from a second wave and they've been holding these numbers for 2.5 months now, remember that.

Spain has seen a sharp increase, but its nothing that can't be put back under control. Mandatory masks at all times in Spains capital will help them stop the spread. It is a measure other countries are looking at too, and whilst it isn't nice to have to wear masks at all times leaving your house, if it stops the virus then necessary measures must be taken. Spain's numbers have increased but it's not exponential. An exponential increase is when we should be worried.

Italy, greece, France, Netherlands, UK, are all still doing ok. All of these countries have more powers than we did at the beginning of the outbreak, testing, contact tracing apps, masks can be implemented and removed at any times. Look at Austria for example, masks were compulsory back in April, they then removed the mask rule and have now reintroduced it again. Masks are a powerful tool which can stop viral transmission.

If you see an exponential spike in cases in the UK, I recommend one thing, take it upon yourself to take action. Don't wait for the leaders to say its time to stay at home, because by then it could be too late. Do what you think is right, what you think is sensible and what you can do to protect yourself and those around you.

Cases are increasing in Europe at the moment, but its not exponential, and therefore we don't need to worry about a second wave until we see an exponential increase. Just because a politician declares a second wave, doesn't mean it will happen, its important to follow the science here not the politics.

At the end of the day international travel is what causes this increase in cases, so if you want to keep yourself safe I would advise to limit international travel or to travel to lower risk destinations based on cases per capita. You can follow all the statistics on https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/#countries . This will help you to see where it is under control and where the virus is more in circulation. It can give a good idea of where has the most control over the virus with the best measures and where is starting to see an exponential increase. The UK is seeing a slow but gradual increase in cases, no difference to Netherlands, Poland, Germany and France. Spain saw an increase which isn't exponential, and therefore can hopefully be contained via masks, contact tracing and self isolation.

So to conclude, we aren't seeing a second wave, but it's not to say a second wave couldn't happen at any point, its completely possible, but im sure most governments will do everything in their power to stop a second wave so they don't crash the economy and allow thousands more to die. Best to keep up to date on the numbers, keep acting sensibly and follow social distancing and mask wearing guidelines to keep yourself and your family safe!
 
PortAventura opening times will be reduced in August now due to lack of visitors. 8pm closures.

Blackpool Pleasure Beach will literally have several Saturdays that they will be opened later than the major coastal theme park in Spain, it also has all its hotels opened unlike PortAventura. Must be the first time in well over a decade. I think a clear indication of what is happening and I'm not so sure this trend will be reversed so quickly, possibly years.
 
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JammyH

Member
PortAventura opening times will be reduced in August now due to lack of visitors. 8pm closures.

Blackpool Pleasure Beach will literally have several Saturdays that they will be opened later than the major coastal theme park in Spain, it also has all its hotels opened unlike PortAventura. Must be the first time in well over a decade. I think a clear indication of what is happening and I'm not so sure this trend will be reversed so quickly, possibly years.
Such a shame, but I’m not surprised. A lot of portaventura’s visitor base are UK families who have booked a package holiday to the theme park and Barcelona. With Catalonia being the cause of the spike in cases, I guess people’s trips to the park are written off for the summer.

It will just be locals who go now. Such a shame, I was thinking about going, and their virus measures looked the best I have seen in the whole of Europe in a theme park setting. So I’m really upset it’s off the cards now.
 

JoshC.

Active Member
Such a shame, but I’m not surprised. A lot of portaventura’s visitor base are UK families who have booked a package holiday to the theme park and Barcelona. With Catalonia being the cause of the spike in cases, I guess people’s trips to the park are written off for the summer.

It will just be locals who go now. Such a shame, I was thinking about going, and their virus measures looked the best I have seen in the whole of Europe in a theme park setting. So I’m really upset it’s off the cards now.
I've yet to visit PA so can't gauge from experience, but is this really true? PA get close to 4 million visitors a year, and I could probably count the number of "non-enthusiast" British friends I know who who have heard of PA on one hand.

Not to say they don't get a lot of UK families visiting, but do they really have a huge chunk of their visitation from Brits?
 
Such a shame, but I’m not surprised. A lot of portaventura’s visitor base are UK families who have booked a package holiday to the theme park and Barcelona. With Catalonia being the cause of the spike in cases, I guess people’s trips to the park are written off for the summer.

It will just be locals who go now. Such a shame, I was thinking about going, and their virus measures looked the best I have seen in the whole of Europe in a theme park setting. So I’m really upset it’s off the cards now.
I came very close to booking for past weekend. Ryan Air's prices to Reus are weird how they go up and down. The return flight literally went from £50 to £200 a week before. Going out was £100, so almost hit the book button (was still unsure as indeed cases were going up beginning of last week), but then it jumped to £300 so was out of the question! So the flight cost was literally the only thing that put me off.

Although the measures indeed look good, I do want to experience the entire thing at PortA including the extreme late night 2am closures, the shows and parades.
Maybe next year.
 
I've yet to visit PA so can't gauge from experience, but is this really true? PA get close to 4 million visitors a year, and I could probably count the number of "non-enthusiast" British friends I know who who have heard of PA on one hand.

Not to say they don't get a lot of UK families visiting, but do they really have a huge chunk of their visitation from Brits?
BBC reported some crazy figure of number of Brits going to Spain THIS year with everything going on: 600,000. Normally it is 15-18 million! I was astonished. My girlfriend's colleagues literally all have been to Spain. None to Blackpool.
 

Ethan

Well-Known Member
BBC reported some crazy figure of number of Brits going to Spain THIS year with everything going on: 600,000. I was astonished. My girlfriend's colleagues literally all have been to Spain. None to Blackpool.
I agree that it's embarrassing how many Brits felt the need to travel abroad during a pandemic. Although if I lived in somewhere like Blackpool I'd want an escape too.

Not to say they don't get a lot of UK families visiting, but do they really have a huge chunk of their visitation from Brits?
I actually know quite a lot of non-enthusiasts that know of, or have been to, PA. In my experience, people seem to know about Disneyland Paris and Portaventura here, but not much else!
 

JammyH

Member
I've yet to visit PA so can't gauge from experience, but is this really true? PA get close to 4 million visitors a year, and I could probably count the number of "non-enthusiast" British friends I know who who have heard of PA on one hand.

Not to say they don't get a lot of UK families visiting, but do they really have a huge chunk of their visitation from Brits?
TUI sells an all-inclusive package holiday to portaventura where you get, hotel, park tickets and unlimited food and drinks included. From what I’ve seen it’s got a really popular uptake from Brits, but they normally put you in the el-paso, and with the El Paso shut this season that’s going to be a real hit for TUI.

Portaventura specifically have a Facebook page for English visitors... so they have a Spanish page and then a separate English page. I don’t know many other european parks which do this (maybe europa park, Disneyland Paris?) so they definitely have a clientele from British visitors. I have had a couple of non-enthusiast friends who have been there, it’s near Barcelona and Salou is a seaside resort town, so for a lot of people it’s a good thing to combine with a beach holiday.

I really don’t know the figures, but just off my impression, Disneyland Paris is the most visited park in Europe by brits and then after that I would say it’s portaventura. More Brits know about and go to portaventura than Europa park for example (I don’t have any figures to back it up but it’s just the impression I get from all the package holidays sold from the UK and there’s a bit of a “buzz” around the park from uk visitors on Facebook).

Aside from that, i think it’s mainly Spanish visitors. But with people wanting to stay local and Catalonia being the place of “concern” at the moment, I imagine not many Spaniards are willing to travel across the country to go to a theme park.

Although the measures indeed look good, I do want to experience the entire thing at PortA including the extreme late night 2am closures, the shows and parades.
Maybe next year.
It’s such a shame because this year the park was 25 years old so the show program would have been one to remember for sure.

It’s really worth doing the whole experience, night rides, late night shows, parades, live music, fireworks, food and drinks. The entertainment program is probably one of the best out of all the european parks, if not worldwide. So I think the atmosphere would be very different this season. Normally it feels so lively and vibrant the place, whilst the theming around the park is still incredible I think it would feel a lot more quaint and laid back than it normally does this season.

Believe it or not, they used to be open 10am-4am in the summer. It was certainly like that when I went in 2014 anyway. But since then it’s been revised to 2am, which is still incredible opening times. When this is all over it’s definitely a park to add to your bucket list to get the “full experience”.

I do feel for them having to cut back their hours, but a lot of parks are cutting hours or cutting their seasons short. Weirdly though, the German parks seem to be extending their seasons, which is quite the opposite of what most other parks have chosen to do!
 

JammyH

Member
@Matt N just also referring back to your question regarding case increase.

Belgium has also seen a steady increase in cases, although once again not exponential, but their cases per capita look about the same to me as in Spain.

To me it seems strange that all the media attention is on Spain when Belgium is experiencing similar rates to Spain. Regardless Belgium have increased strictness in mask policies, reinforced social distancing and brought in curfews for their residents, hopefully all measures which can bring back down their numbers again.

As I said before, no European countries (maybe bar Romania) are seeing a worrying exponential increase in virus cases like we did in march time. And testing in every country is so much better than it was back then so now we should be catching the majority of cases in the community whereas back in march we were only picking up those who went to hospitals.

But yes, time to keep a close watch on Belgium. The difference being I think that Belgium is not such a big popular tourist destination for British people compared to Spain, and therefore we are less likely to impose a quarantine on them. It is also a much more Central European hub than Spain, it is difficult for us to quarantine Belgium but not France, Germany or The Netherlands.

As said above there's a lot of Brits who go to Spain every year and are still going this summer, that's probably where the rapid decision for the quarantine comes from. Whilst rates in Spain are not alarming in the slightest at the moment, the sheer amounts of brits going out to Spain at the moment means a lot of potential for the virus to come back into the uk and start spreading at increased rates again, whereas places like Belgium are much less of a tourist destination for brits compared to Spain, Greece, Portugal and Italy etc.
 
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