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Coronavirus: Impact on Theme Parks

Nicky Borrill

Giga Poster
Imagine being so blinded that you think tories care about your health and wellbeing. Sorry, but the whole thing has been a shambles.
Ouch... I’m not a tory btw ??

Doesn’t make what I said any less true. It’s literally the plan they openly discussed every day at the briefing...
 

Ethan

Strata Poster
Thought I logged on to CF, not Twitter. My bad.
Your bad indeed.

Was hoping to book a Phantasialand trip with a friend for late September but it looks like that's off! I do hope these lockdowns and park closures last a long time though tbh. Long enough to keep the numbers down, once they eventually do, at least.
 

CSLKennyNI

Giga Poster
Local German newspaper BNN have an article about the situation and atmosphere in Europa Park and the village of Rust during the shutdown. Germany may be starting to look to gradually return to normal life but its expected the park will remain shut longer, despite no official word on this yet from the state or Mack family so far, as a low priority site in terms of public life. Questions over how the park would operate in the current situation also remain. Locals in Rust told the paper they anticipate the park may open at the beginning of June at the earliest.

Spring is breaking in Europa-Park. 25,000 tulips have blossomed, the daffodils stretch out towards the sun, and a sea of pansies make the streets shine brightly. Only there are no visitors to appreciate all the flowers. The largest amusement park in Europe is closed due to the corona epidemic.
At least until April 19, probably longer. "It is a strange feeling to walk through the park now and to have almost all of these flowers to myself," says Bernhard Rein. "And it is a shame that they will soon be torn out to make way for the summer flowers."

Rein knows the Europa-Park like the back of his hand. He had attended the opening of the mega leisure facility as a teenager and has been taking pictures for the Mack owner family for two decades. "I've never experienced anything like this here," says the 57-year-old on the phone. "Now the park and the hotels even switch off most of the lights in the evening - this is done to avoid light pollution, but it is already ghostly."

In the border triangle of Germany, France and Switzerland, the 134-hectare facility with over 100 attractions, a huge "water world", six hotels and a 23-hour show program is "system-relevant". The Mack family employed around 4,150 people in summer 2019, and Europa-Park attracted more than 5.7 million visitors in the previous year.

In and around the small community of Rust with 4,300 inhabitants, hundreds of pensions, inns, restaurants and shops, but also craftsmen, food manufacturers and service providers usually benefit from the hustle and bustle in the family fun paradise.

That is why a lot of people listened when the Macks announced with a heavy heart on March 23 that the season opening would be postponed for almost a month by corona. "We look forward to welcoming you again as soon as possible," wrote the operator.

Now, however, it looks as if the park fans have to prepare themselves with even more patience. Because the "gradual return to normality after the Easter holidays", which Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn is talking about, almost certainly does not mean the starting signal for the hustle and bustle in Rust.

The Mack family is currently not giving press interviews. But the pessimistic forecast confirms the Member of the State Parliament Lahr, Marion Gentges.

In her own words, the CDU politician only discussed first the “restart of public life” with Spahn on Tuesday. “The question now is: what things do you need and what can you do without? Work and schools will definitely take precedence over leisure activities, ”says Gentges.

The residents of Rust interviewed by the BNN expect the park to open at the beginning of June at the earliest. It is unclear whether the offer and the number of visitors will be reduced for security reasons, for example by restricting it to online ticket sales. “The park cannot go up from 0 to 100 right away,” Gentges is convinced.

According to information from the Lahrer Zeitung, the Mack family introduced short-time work for more than 2,000 employees in all areas. According to Marion Gentges, the operators increase the salary of the employees through additional payments.

"In the park, they prepare intensively for Day X," she says. The photographer Bernhard Rein explains that the artists and craftsmen of Europa-Park are using the forced break for more construction and maintenance work.

The activities in the leisure facility are reduced, but for Rein they represent a great contrast to the street scene of his community under quarantine. "Rust is dead". In the past, everyone would have hibernated during the season break: "Then: Peng! When the park opened, the community was 100 percent full. This, Peng ’is now missing for everyone who benefits from Europa-Park.” Because of the many cancellations by guests, he would be missing at least three monthly sales, Rein estimates, who owns three holiday apartments in the village.
"We were fully booked until November, but no one is coming now," moans Josef Utz, who runs the "Ferienwohnung am Steingarten" together with his wife Rita - as additional earnings on his pension, as he says. "It is financially very tight right now, unfortunately we cannot expect any help," complains the pensioner.
The situation in the “Gästehaus Glück” is just as difficult. The 50-year-old Rolf Glück has submitted an application for financial aid: "A few months without income, I would have to talk to the bank if it can defer the repayment of the loan."

In an interview with the BNN, Mayor Kai-Achim Klare (SPD) called the situation "depressing" and the consequences for Rust due to the Europa Park closure "serious". "These cuts have dimensions that we could never imagine," says Klare. His great hope is that Rust will soon be able to slip under a state "rescue umbrella".
Source
 

Nicky Borrill

Giga Poster
I do hope these lockdowns and park closures last a long time though tbh. Long enough to keep the numbers down, once they eventually do, at least.

The virus isn’t the only danger to life you know... There is a huge risk to public health and life if the lockdowns go on for too long.
 

Ethan

Strata Poster
The virus isn’t the only danger to life you know... There is a huge risk to public health and life if the lockdowns go on for too long.
This is true, but if people relax too much and start socialising too early, this will never bloody end.
 

JammyH

Hyper Poster
Steering back to theme parks...

In the event the parks do open this season, I imagine that single rider queues will not be in operation?

Also I would imagine on single car/boat rides, such as log flumes, river rapids and wild mouse/spinning style coasters, it would be strictly one group per car/boat and no mixing of groups in cars on the rides.
 

Nicky Borrill

Giga Poster
This is true, but if people relax too much and start socialising too early, this will never bloody end.
I’ve read many different articles on different studies of this, so honestly don’t know which one is most accurate, but did you know that austerity and it’s reduction in social and health care was said to be directly responsible for an extra 50,000 to 130,000 deaths in the UK.

Again, I know those studies are estimates, and I’m unsure of accuracy, but does make you realise why lockdown cannot go on any longer than is absolutely essential, or more people will die than the virus would kill.

Steering back to theme parks...

In the event the parks do open this season, I imagine that single rider queues will not be in operation?

Also I would imagine on single car/boat rides, such as log flumes, river rapids and wild mouse/spinning style coasters, it would be strictly one group per car/boat and no mixing of groups in cars on the rides.

That would be a sensible approach, I think.

I am still hoping the UK advises all at some point to wear masks, we all know that the science is there, and that they’re holding off for fear of PPE shortages, but at some point that fear will be gone surely. I just hope they don’t try to save face by persisting with the policy when they don’t need to.

I would also think that most effort would be put into social distancing in indoor spaces, where it is most needed. Shops, restaurants etc. And with any luck no pre shows ? As good as they are, there’s only so many times I want to feed the flames.

Outdoors I would imagine painted markers in queues, staff on entries watching capacity, cattle pens diverted. But in all honesty, it does seem pointless if we’re all going to ride a coaster / ride together, no amount of empty rows is gonna protect us on an exposed fast moving ride vehicle, is it? ??‍♂️

P.s... Sorry for the double, I generally click through from email notifications and reply to that before checking the rest of the thread...

Double post merged - Pokemaniac
 
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i305_zack

Mega Poster
Hopefully when parks do reopen (hopefully in two months) they will not have to close down again like what is happening in Japan right now
 

Youngster Joey

Strata Poster
Hopefully when parks do reopen (hopefully in two months) they will not have to close down again like what is happening in Japan right now

Well for that to happen at least in the states we need a huge increase in testing and tracing. I hope seasonal parks open up this year, but I wouldn't be surprised to see a them closed for the year. I suspect the truth globally is that until there's mass testing we really can't safely open things back up anywhere.
 

Ethan

Strata Poster
Surely it doesn't matter about how many groups you plonk in a log flume boat... Things like coasters and flat rides would still be silly to run, right? One person sneezes on a roller coaster or intense flat, and those droplets have literally been spread everywhere, over everybody else on-ride. To me it just seems silly to operate roller coasters and rides straight after lockdown ends, but that's just my opinion. Theme parks just seem like the perfect place for viruses like this to spread.
 

Nicky Borrill

Giga Poster
Surely it doesn't matter about how many groups you plonk in a log flume boat... Things like coasters and flat rides would still be silly to run, right? One person sneezes on a roller coaster or intense flat, and those droplets have literally been spread everywhere, over everybody else on-ride. To me it just seems silly to operate roller coasters and rides straight after lockdown ends, but that's just my opinion. Theme parks just seem like the perfect place for viruses like this to spread.
That was my thoughts exactly in a previous post, you cannot really manage that risk. But you can’t really manage the risk in shops either, as recent studies and modelling have shown, 2 metres or an aisle’s separation is simply not nearly enough.
 

BlueSonicHD

Mega Poster
The one thing parks could do is only operate the front rows of rides. Then there’s no one sitting behind that could be infected
 

Catmaydo

Roller Poster
So far It’s working, we haven’t seen the NHS reach anywhere close to capacity, we haven’t seen the 250,000 deaths scaremongers predicted, and we are hitting the peak.

To be honest with you, I recognised immediately that it was the only viable plan, but even I didn’t expect it to work as well as it seems to be!

That's just not accurate; it's well over capacity right now. I work at an NHS trust in London, and several of my trusts mental health wards have been temporarily taken over by the neighbouring acute hospital to provide step-down capacity so that they can manage Coronavirus cases at their hospital. Our trust was already struggling to keep up with capacity to deal with mental health cases, and now our patients are being asked to wait longer to be seen because staffing is down. We're also seeing an uptick in demand due to people struggling with their mental health during lockdown. Our staff haven't got adequate levels of PPE, or enough access to tests, and it will be a while before we get to a position where we will.

In my home town, the main hospital there are diverting ventilators and other equipment to the major hospital in the next city there's a shortage. I know this because my mother works as a nurse in the larger hospital and she's seeing this equipment come over.

These are just examples from three NHS trusts, and it's a scenario that's likely to be happening everywhere. We were already stretched for resources before, and we're making unfortunate but necessary compromises on patient care to keep up with the most urgent issues now. Things are not okay, and it'll take years to get close to normal.

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Nicky Borrill

Giga Poster
That's just not accurate; it's well over capacity right now. I work at an NHS trust in London, and several of my trusts mental health wards have been temporarily taken over by the neighbouring acute hospital to provide step-down capacity so that they can manage Coronavirus cases at their hospital. Our trust was already struggling to keep up with capacity to deal with mental health cases, and now our patients are being asked to wait longer to be seen because staffing is down. We're also seeing an uptick in demand due to people struggling with their mental health during lockdown. Our staff haven't got adequate levels of PPE, or enough access to tests, and it will be a while before we get to a position where we will.

In my home town, the main hospital there are diverting ventilators and other equipment to the major hospital in the next city there's a shortage. I know this because my mother works as a nurse in the larger hospital and she's seeing this equipment come over.

These are just examples from three NHS trusts, and it's a scenario that's likely to be happening everywhere. We were already stretched for resources before, and we're making unfortunate but necessary compromises on patient care to keep up with the most urgent issues now. Things are not okay, and it'll take years to get close to normal.

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Sorry, You miss understood my point. My point was purely regarding critical care capacity for coronavirus patients. The governments plan was to slow the curve and increase this capacity, so the scenes we saw in Italy, 2 to an ICU bed, are not seen here.

I too have a nurse in the family, my sister, who works in theatre within UHDB trust. Her theatre has been transformed into addition critical care capacity. When I mentioned capacity, I’m obviously referring to the subject at hand, critical care beds for covid patients.

In that respect we’re not using anywhere near the extra capacity we’ve created, are we? As far as I’m aware the nightingale hospitals are barely being used, and (whilst I do not know about London) the local trust’s additional capacity (theatres etc) is not yet close to capacity.

The issues you’ve raised are another matter altogether, and it’s a sad state of affairs, extra lives will be lost. Particularly in mental health, but also to transform theatres, non urgent surgery has been delayed, which will lead to deaths. It’s my understanding though, that overall, they believe that this extra critical care capacity is essential to avoid extraordinary loss of life to the virus?
 

Professor

Previously AndrewRollercoaster
Interesting article on Loopings.nl about the director of the Dutch theme park association talking about possibly being able to re-open parks soon with the 1.5 metre distance rule. Stating that to give ride operators protective clothing to be able to check restraints and of course limiting access heavily and having to book a ticket well in advance online probably.
Personally I think it's almost a non go.

The comments are interesting too someone talking about getting splashed in the face by someone using a water bottle up front in a roller coaster. Actually that reminds me of riding Stealth last year in the back. A woman in the front row just came off soaked from one of the water rides at Thorpe and due to the acceleration many of us got splashed on by her long wet hair. That was funny and she actually apologised to everyone at the end but it does show you how far water droplets travel on a fast coaster. Someone sneezes up front who has Corona and everyone would be infected in the rows behind.

 

i305_zack

Mega Poster
The one thing parks could do is only operate the front rows of rides. Then there’s no one sitting behind that could be infected
That really cuts down capacity and I feel would just be a horrible move, I don’t want to ever see that, as people have already waited in line right next to each other so if someone has corona in line with you, then ur getting it
 

Ethan

Strata Poster
The one thing parks could do is only operate the front rows of rides. Then there’s no one sitting behind that could be infected
Just want to add to the discussion by commenting on how dumb this suggestion is.

Capacity would be so atrocious that you may as well just save the money and not run the coasters. Imagine the queues! And more importantly, even if there's only 2 or 4 riders on an entire train... If they sneeze, you're still spreading the droplets and most likely showering guests below with them, too. Just face it guys, theme parks will be shut for a long time, and it should be that way. It would be incredibly irresponsible to open them, and because of this, they'll be right at the bottom of the list when we start opening things up again.
 
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