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Wearing Masks in the Parks

Edward M

Well-Known Member
So, I recently was watching the grand reopening of Indiana Beach, and I saw something that troubled me. Very few masks and almost no social distancing. In fact, it's something I've seen in a lot of footage of American parks operating post-COVID. Most guests and a fair amount of employees not wearing masks in pathways or even while on or operating the rides. I think we can safely say that theme parks are a prime place for the transmission of COVID-19. Lots of people grouped together, touching restraints, seatbelts, and rails in the queue. So, with many parks having such a lax mask policy for customers, is anyone reconsidering visiting parks in 2020? And how does the image of people without masks effect how these parks or the industry as a whole look? Do coaster enthusiasts, especially ones with media platforms, have something of a responsibility to lead by example by wearing a mask?

Personally, I think it shows a pretty rampant disregard for one of the key ways the transmission of COVID can be slowed. And it's not asking much at all of people to simply wear a mask. Sure, not wearing one is easier, but you're endangering not only your own lives but others as well. Unless there's a strictly enforced mask policy and some god tier cleaning routines, I think going to the parks seems dangerous in this pandemic. Perhaps some parks will create a safe environment, but it just seems impossible to control something so infectious. I will admit I haven't watched anything on European or Asian parks operations/policies, but masks don't seem to be the same sort of political issue they continue to be in America. Plus, it is in a much worse position in terms of its handling of the pandemic and the sheer number of transmissions.
 

cocoa

New Member
the fact that covid is politicized in america at once doesn't surprise me at all, but also completely disgusts me. and i say that as an american, living in australia :p
 

TLARides

Member
My take is this:

If you're gonna cry about wearing a ing mask to a theme park and say you aren't coming just because of it, fine by me. More spaces in the reservations for me.

I saw someone's stupid change.org campaign to get Kings Island to bring down their mask requirement. It surprisingly got signatures, but of course the park didn't care, and told them to basically screw off.

The funniest thing in the campaign was when the poster tried to compare a grocery store to a multi-acre amusement park, and then followed up with "Don't force your kids to do this." Bam. Just like that, more of my faith in humanity was lost.

If a park's gonna at least recommend wearing a mask, I'm wearing a mask. I'm not gonna cry about it, I'm not gonna tear the company a new hole, and I'm certainly not going to start a friggin' campaign to change the rule they worked out with the state. I'm here to have fun, and I'm glad the park's even open, why can't these idiots acknowledge how lucky they are the park isn't still closed?

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Antinos

Slut for Spinners
Social Media Team
I think at this point the best thing to do is just worry about yourself. A contingent of us were at Lagoon and Silverwood the past few days and saw maybe half the park goers at Lagoon wearing masks and even less at Silverwood. We were sure to keep our masks on at all times, maintain social distancing, and wash our hands frequently. I'm sure everyone visiting parks this summer understands that there are pandemic related risks involved.

On the other side, the county where Silverwood is located has hardly felt coronavirus at all, and they've only seen one death caused by the virus. That doesn't excuse anyone not taking precautions, but the situation in some areas is entirely different than what most of us are used to.

Florida is completely screwed though.
 

bernatc22

Member
a lot of footage of American parks operating post-COVID.
Completely agree with your post and points, though I personally wouldn't call the 40.000+ cases a day in America a "post-COVID" situation :")
But anyway, since most people in the US don't seem to care from what I've seen, as Antinos said, just make sure to take care of yourselves and take decisions accordingly.
Hope you all are doing great btw!
 

migo315

New Member
In the Netherlands there was never a requirement to wear a mask in the theme parks. But social distancing worked very well there.

In Germany there is still the obligation to wear a mask. It worked really well at the beginning. But now some of them are no longer wearing them properly. And because of the mask, some people no longer keep their distance. At least that's my observation.
 
In the Netherlands there was never a requirement to wear a mask in the theme parks. But social distancing worked very well there.

In Germany there is still the obligation to wear a mask. It worked really well at the beginning. But now some of them are no longer wearing them properly. And because of the mask, some people no longer keep their distance. At least that's my observation.
No it didn’t... Have just come back from Walibi... No social distancing whatsoever... We felt nowhere near as safe as countries where masks were mandatory...

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Sure, there may be little change in infection rates so far... But doesn’t mean there won’t be as people relax even more... It’s way too early to call that.

In contrast to Germany where EVERYONE was abiding by the mask rule, and on occasion when somebody tried to enter a queue forgetting they’d not raised their mask, they were told off by staff every time and told to put it on before entering!!!

I will not be visiting any parks that don’t at least recommend masks... As my evidence from my European trip has shown me that social distancing is ignored far more than it is followed, (in all countries, mask or no mask!) and it’s impossible for staff to police!
 
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JammyH

Member
Ok, I correct: When I was in Toverland and Efteling (2x) at the beginning of June, it worked very well. ;-)
Ok, so I haven't visited any parks personally since January, but what I've seen from Toverland, the distancing works pretty well and most people are respectful of it. I guess that's mainly down to the target market of Toverland vs a park like Walibi Holland, where @Nicky Borrill visited and no one was bothering to keep their distance. From what I've seen from Efteling, it's a mixed bag, people seem to keep their distance in the queue lines but the pathways and the entrance plaza are so overcrowded distancing is impossible, if people were wearing masks then that would definitely help in situations where distancing can't be maintained. Nonetheless, all three of those parks are very good at regulating distancing on coasters.

Mandatory masks policy in the parks is a very difficult one, for me personally, I would feel much safer visiting a park where masks are mandatory, as long as the policy is enforced. As you say @Edward M a lot of these American parks have put a mandatory masks policy in place, but then don't enforce it, in which case it would be just better if these parks "recommended" face coverings rather than claim they are compulsory and then don't enforce it.

From what I've seen so far, the German parks are most successful with the mandatory masks policy. Yes, people don't keep their distance in the lines as a result, but I would say 70-90% of people from what I've seen/heard keep their masks on when required, and a lot of these German parks have staff in place to enforce the policy. Last Tuesday, 300 people were reportedly kicked out of Phantasialand due to not complying with the mask policy. That may seem like a high number, but it's probably only 5% of the daily guests, so there's probably only about 10-20% of daily guests not complying. In which case, a park with 80% of the people wearing masks and no distancing feels much safer than a park with no distancing and no face mask policy. So yes, im definitely an advocate for compulsory masks in the parks, as long as the policy is enforced. I personally don't think they should be required on pathways between attractions but I think they should be required in queuelines, on the rides and in indoor areas such as shops etc.... so essentially what the German policy is.

I personally don't think theme parks are a Covid hotspot, maybe in the US but certainly not in Europe. Parks in The Netherlands and Germany have been open for over a month now and as far as I'm aware, infections haven't been traced back to these parks and they haven't been forced to close again. Compare this to the UK when a whole city is being locked down again before things even reopened! Theme parks in general are majority outdoor spaces, and we know transmission risks outdoors are so low compared to indoor spaces, so even if people aren't distancing in outdoor spaces, the risks are relatively low. The risks really increase if people aren't distancing in indoor queuelines or wearing their masks in the indoor spaces, as transmission risks are really increased and this is where staff really need to tighten down on enforcement in all parks no matter what the rules themselves are.

Our theme parks in the UK are opening Saturday, only a select few (including merlin) will require masks on the rollercoasters, but they all stop short as to requiring them around the park and in the queuelines. Merlin go a step further to recommend them during your entire stay, however I don't know how many people will comply to that. I went to my local town yesterday, for the first time since march and I was shocked by the amount of people wearing masks in public, it was much more than I expected. And on the bus, where they are compulsory here, I would say about 80% of people were complying to the masks policy, I spotted a couple of people who think they are above the policy with masks under their chin but on the whole there was compliance, which is better than what we had before where no one was wearing a mask on public transport. Some UK parks don't require masks at all so we will see how social distancing works out, but ive actually found out this morning that fantasy island will provide every guest with a face mask upon entering. This is by far the best policy I've seen so far out of all the uk parks, and whilst they are only compulsory to wear on certain rides, at least guests will be freely provided with a mask compared to parks like merlin where if you don't bring one you have to purchase one on site.

Anyway to conclude, I'm definitely for compulsory masks in the parks as I think it reduces transmission risks, but only if it is an enforced policy. Otherwise I think they should only be "recommended' and distancing should be heavily enforced instead. I still haven't decided if im going anywhere this year, im certainly not going to any uk parks for opening weekend, but hopefully I might be able to visit a couple of UK parks once I see what their policies are like, and im hoping to get out to a couple of European parks once the air bridges are in place provided policies stay enforced and the infection rates remain low.
 
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