What Will It Take To Reopen Amusement Venues In A COVID-19 World?
The ravaging effects on COVID-19 have been felt globally across nearly every industry. However, one industry that has felt the blow of the coronavirus tidal wave is the entertainment and amusement industry. As businesses that thrive on packing as many tourists and visitors into a single space as possible, amusement parks and other entertainment venues have been left in a difficult situation to decide how to reopen in a profitable way while keeping guests and team members safe.
The question every entertainment and amusement venue must now ask themselves is: “What will it take for us to reopen in this new normal?”
We’re All In This Together
If there is a silver lining to be found at all in the COVID-19 crisis, it’s that the virus takes no prisoners in its economic war. When the doors closed on a single amusement park due to the spread of the contagion, every venue quickly followed suit. This unfortunate unity has helped bring together park authorities and owners from various venues to work together on reopening guidance and plans.
The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) has brought together the heads of many of the world’s largest amusement parks and attractions to begin planning for how to safely reopen amusement venues once lockdowns and stay-at-home orders are lifted. The guidance from IAAPA can help guide venue owners to make wise, informed decisions on how to proceed in allowing guests to return.
Top Questions To Ask Before Reopening
As stay-at-home orders lift and businesses begin to reopen to cooped up customers, it may be tempting to throw open the doors and get back to business as usual. However, “business as usual” in a post-COVID world is guaranteed to be different than anyone could imagine, and it is likely to evolve in the weeks ahead.
In order to increase the confidence of your employees and guests, as well as adhere to local guidance of health officials, here are some questions to ask yourself before opening your doors to the public once more:
- “Do we have the ability to consistently and effectively sanitize surfaces?”
- “Can we offer social-distancing spacing across our venue?”
- “Will we require masks?”
- “Should we take the temperatures of guests as they enter the venue?”
- “Have we created a contingency plan for any team member or customer who comes down with COVID-19 symptoms or is confirmed sick by positive test at a later date?”
As just a few of the many questions you should ask before opening the doors to your venue, these prompts will help get your team moving forward with the best intentions.
IAAPA Guidelines For Reopening
Before an amusement park or entertainment venue considers opening their doors to customers once more, IAAPA has offered a lengthy document for owners and operators to utilize in creating their reopening plan. With careful cooperation with the city, state, and federal health officials, IAAPA has created a list of top concerns that amusement parks should consider when they start to put together a plan for reopening.
An effective plan and strategy will save you time and money in the long run as you ensure that nearly every possible outcome has been planned for when reopening. Here are a few of the reopening guidelines that IAAPA recommends amusement facilities put in place prior to reopening:
- Allow healthy people to enjoy the facility and encourage the use of masks/face coverings for guests and staff.
- Provide means to wash/sanitize hands frequently.
- Manage the density of people within the facility to keep people or family units that have been isolating together 6 feet (2 meters) apart. Physical distancing guidelines may vary by region and can be reduced by wearing of masks/ face coverings—ensure your plan is aligned with local official guidance.
- Reduce touch areas where possible and sanitize high touch surfaces frequently.
- Protect employees with various approaches, including barriers, protective coverings, and distancing.
- Communicate with employees and guests effectively on how to prevent the spread of germs.
- Have a plan in the event a guest or employee falls ill on site.
For more information check out the entire list of guidelines, as well as IAAPA’s full reopening document, on their website.
If You Prepare, They Will Return
As we have discovered, the coronavirus pandemic has caused untold damage and trauma for both individuals and businesses. As the entertainment and amusement industry has been hit especially hard, it is vital that the industry has an effective and flexible strategy in place before reopening.
Customers are hungry for fun and entertainment, and will likely be ready to buy their tickets quickly once you announce a reopening date. However, the venues and parks that will survive – and thrive – post-COVID will be those who take the time to plan for the health and wellness of their customers and team members. With the right plan in place, we can all return to the places of fun and imagination that we love!