Theme Parks After Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
A Nightmare Scenario?
When the coronavirus hit in California and Florida, Disney and Universal Studios closed down their theme parks that attract millions of dollars and millions of visitors each year. Yes, the virus shut down Disneyland and Harry Potter. Thousands lost their jobs and the loss of revenue remains significant. Disney went further to shut down ALL their parks across the globe, in France, in China, etc.
There are a plethora of problems, all with synergistic effects in their linking to one another, whenever they reopen. The list is almost endless because the virus has now been ingrained in the back of everyone's mind and because it remains out there as the invisible and undetectable enemy with no vaccine. One can think, just off the top of one's head, a series of immediate issues that will plaque theme parks:
- Social distancing - that is not going away and in a theme park, how will this be controlled at the entrances, within the lines waiting for rides. Can you imagine the length of the line now?
- Will the theme parks finally reduce their costs to enter since so many people lost their jobs to attract customers again? They can surely afford it.
- How will social distancing be controlled overall within the park? Keeping people apart while waiting for a ride is one thing, but about the hoards just roaming about? How and who will control this?
- Will they adopt the Chinese method, that is, allow only those with no temperature above normal inside the park, regardless, if they had paid for their tickets online? In China, people that have a temp are not allowed in. But, how strict are they? With this virus, it only takes a few to spread it.
- Will parks have social distancing police to monitor and keep everyone apart? Seems like an impossible task ripe for discord and chaos just waiting to happen if not complied with.
- Will parks only allow those with face masks in? That is another area ripe for chaos. What happens if once entered, the masks come off? Will they be forced to leave or comply?
- Will the concession areas serving food and drink all be forced to where masks, gloves or other PPE? Will eating zones even be open? Since restaurants were forced to close, what about these zones? If they remain closed, this would be a big reason for many not to go.
- How will the rides be disinfected? This seems like a monumental job after each completion and one that would further create longer delays beyond patience. Even in non-virus times, line waits could easily be over 1 hour, now between rides, you spend another amount to disinfect. OMG!
- What happens if a family with kids, all ready to go the theme park, prepaid, are denied access because one of them has a slight fever? A common cold with cough? Imagine, how they will demand to speak to a high authority about it and multiply this 10 times on a daily basis. The amount of refunds.
- Some theme parks are water parks. How will this be impacted? How often is often enough to clean the restrooms, showers and toilets? Even in normal times, they can be disgusting, but now?
- What happens if visitors get a fever while inside the park? Or, several do? Will the park side with safety and shutdown, forcing everyone to leave? This would be the nightmare they face. If a virus was traced to a theme park, it would kill the franchise.
As one can see, these are just a few complications theme parks and even airlines will face in a post COVID-19 world. How to control crowds, keep social distancing, are major concerns because experts say this virus will be around for many months with an ebb and flow with seasons. Many feel hot weather has little impact on it because it began in many much warmer climes, as well as cold. Its ability to remain contagious for up to 72 hours on non-living surfaces poses serious problems for theme park rides. Its ability to be airborne via droplets or "in the air" for more than 6 feet (which is the minimum distance suggested), presents a real problem for theme parks, especially since nobody knows who may or may not even have it, unless everyone is tested and has proof they do not have it with some sort of mark or paper. Then, there is just the avoidance issue many theme parkers will have once they reopen, as they know a theme park is like a cruise ship for the virus.
Where there are lots of people in close proximity of one another, this invisible enemy is highly contagious.
It one only takes one.