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Gold Coast theme parks to remain open as Coronavirus fears lead to international closures

Gold Coast theme parks to remain open as Coronavirus fears lead to international closures
March 16, 2020

As theme parks around the world close over Coronavirus fears, the Gold Coast’s theme parks are to remain open.

Australia’s major parks, Dreamworld, Warner Bros. Movie World, Sea World and Wet’n’Wild Gold Coast reportedly intend to remain open, operating as normal, along with the region’s schools, universities and shopping centres.

While, in a bid to slow the spread of the Coronavirus, the Federal Government has said gatherings of more than 500 people should not occur, the theme parks reportedly feel that the rule only applies to ‘static-seated events’

With the announcement having impacted sporting codes and entertainment events, already leading to the cancellation of major events such as the Royal Easter Show and the Melbourne Grand Prix, Village Roadshow released a statement on Saturday advising that after discussions with the Queensland Government it believed “the nature of our business does not apply to this advisory”.

The statement said it would put in place “additional stringent hygiene and safety measures” including “an increased number of hygiene hand-washing stations,” “updated signage” about hand-washing techniques at its attractions, as well as, on-site nurses to address the spread of the virus, Warner Bros. Movie World, Sea World, Wet’n’Wild Gold Coast, Paradise Country, Topgolf, Australian Outback Spectacular and Sea World Resort would not close.

Village Roadshow Chief Execuitve, Clark Kirby went on to say “at Village Roadshow Theme Parks, the safety and wellbeing of our guests and team members is our utmost priority.

“The Council of Australian Government’s advice today regarding public gatherings was directed at static-seated events of more than 500 people for a duration of over two hours.

“Based on our discussions with the state government, the nature of our business does not apply to this advisory.”

Last week it was revealed that Hollywood star Tom Hanks had tested positive for Coronavirus.

Hanks, who had been filming Village Roadshow Studios at Oxenford, adjacent to Movie World is now in isolation at the Gold Coast University Hospital along with his wife Rita Wilson.

However, in a statement to the Gold Coast Bulletin, Village Roadshow Studios said "this has no impact on Warner Bros. Movie World which will continue to operate as normal.

“The Studios are a completely separate facility to the theme park, and are located at a different site, with no links to the theme park.”

Ardent Leisure has also advised that its Gold Coast attractions remain open, releasing a statement on Saturday that advised “Dreamworld and WhiteWater World will be open today and will continue to operate as normal.

“Our number one priority at Dreamworld is the health and safety of our guests and team members and we are taking all possible precautions to maintain the highest standards of hygiene at all times, while continuing to monitor the existing health situation.

“We look forward to welcoming guests to our parks and will ensure that the Dreamworld website is continually updated based on advice from public health authorities.”

While the Gold Coast’s theme parks remain open Disneyland and Universal Studios in the USA have announced their closure.

Disney announced on Friday that it would shut down its California theme parks until the end of March over concerns about the Coronavirus outbreak, while Florida’s Disney World closed to guests on Sunday.

Comcast’s Universal Studios theme park in southern California is also now closed with a projected reopening date of 28th March.

On Saturday, the Government of Dubai advised that it was temporarily suspending operations at four major theme parks and tourist attractions until the end of March.

The Emirate’s government media office said in a statement that Motiongate Dubai, Legoland Dubai, Legoland Waterpark Dubai and Bollywood Parks Dubai would be closed to ensure the health and safety of guests and employees.

Images: Warner Bros. Movie World, which remains open (top), Village Roadshow Chief Execuitve, Clark Kirby at Movie World (middle) and Hollywood star Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson who have tested positive for Coronavirus (below, courtesy of Tom Hanks).

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13th March 2020 - Non-essential gatherings of more than 500 people effectively banned across Australia

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25th February 2020 - Ardent Leisure shares fall after critical Coroner’s report into Dreamworld tragedy

25th February 2020 - Queensland Government announces acceptance of Coroner’s findings into 2016 Dreamworld ride deaths

24th February 2020 - Coroner’s report on Dreamworld fatalities exposes Ardent Leisure to prosecution for multiple safety breaches

18th February 2020 - IAAPA shares resources on Coronavirus outbreak

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3rd February 2020 - Gold Coast tourism suffers $40 million dip due to Coronavirus and bushfires impact

31st January 2020 - Coronavirus declared global health emergency by World Health Organization

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24th January 2020 - Private equity group BGH Capital submits rival bid for Village Roadshow

18th January 2020 - South east Queensland deluge closes Dreamworld, Movie World and Wet’n'Wild Gold Coast

20th December 2019 - Private equity firm makes $750 million offer for Village Roadshow

16th December 2019 - Sea World has ‘nothing to hide’ in its dolphin care

15th October 2019 - Village Roadshow reveals profit turnaround in last financial year

11th September 2019 - Village Roadshow Theme Parks reveal schedule for opening of new Sea World attractions

20th September 2018 - Movie World launches new climb attraction on Southern Hemisphere’s tallest HyperCoaster


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