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Village Roadshow announces reopening schedule for Gold Coast theme parks
With the Queensland Government having accepted an Industry Plan for COVIDSafe operations, Village Roadshow has announced today that it will reopen its Gold Coast theme parks - starting with Sea World on 26th June.
While Village Roadshow will then open Warner Bros. Movie World, Wet 'n' Wild and the Outback Spectacular during July, Ardent Leisure says it is awaiting more clarity on the reopening of Queensland’s border before it announces a resumption of operations.
Among measure that it will adopt on reopening, Village Roadshow said there will be more sanitisation measures in place and a requirement for guests to remain 1.5 metres apart.
Some shows will also be on hold and those that are open will have reduced capacity to maintain social distancing.
Guests will need to download the Village Roadshow app to book rides and show tickets to avoid human contact.
Announcing that the attraction will reopen progressively Village Roadshow Chief Executive, Clark Kirby, said they were taking a "conservative approach" to reopening, with a 50% capacity at each park.
Explaining the challenges that the attractions and entertainment group had been facing, Kirby advised “at one point we were losing between $10 to $15 million a month
"When you think of the size of these parks and the complexity of them, it's not like flicking a switch so you do have to have a slower ramp up."
Aiming to reach full capacity in September, as part of the restrictions, the theme parks are required to develop a COVID-safe plan for guests.
Advising that Village Roadshow would aim to return to full visitor capacity by the September school holidays, Kirby added “it's a good way for us to start to work out what works and what doesn't in terms of that social distancing.
"We've only shut a handful of days in our entire existence, so to be shut for three months is really quite unlike anything else."
Ardent Leisure, which operates Dreamworld and Whitewater World, announced reopening dates for its theme parks would be confirmed in the coming weeks as it awaited more information on the opening of Queensland's border.
Ardent Leisure Theme Parks Chief Executive, John Osbourne advised “our approved world class industry COVID-safe plan gives us the green light to open our theme parks at 50% capacity.
"If the current COVID-19 trends continue, we hope to able to operate at full capacity in time for the busy September holiday season."
Ardent Leisure's Skypoint Observation Deck at Surfers Paradise will reopen on 10th July.
Dr Jamie Ranse, a senior research fellow in public health and major events at Griffith University, said a staggered approach to reopening theme parks was "a sensible place to start".
Dr Ranse told the ABC “you have your own personal responsibility to maintain physical distance from other family units, or groups of people, you have your own responsibility to ensure you’re regularly washing your hands.
"There is an enhanced risk of diseases like Coronavirus transmitting.
"However, the strategies that event organisers put in place such as physical distancing and increased cleaning regimes and sanitisation stations, do reduce the risk."
Supporting the reopening of the Gold Coast’s theme parks, the Australian Amusement, Leisure and Recreation Association (AALARA) has been lobbying for amusement and attractions to be allowed to reopen, with no restrictions, other than the application of the four square metre per person density rule and even higher standards of hygiene processes.
Its Industry COVIDSafe Plan has been submitted to health departments in each state.
Advising that this has been “somewhat of an arduous process” a recent AALARA communication advised “we are so very close to the finish line though, so as soon as we receive approval for our industry's Plan, as AALARA Members, you'll be the first to know.”
Images: Village Roadshow's Sea World will reopen on 26th June (top) while Dreamworld is awaiting more clarity on the reopening of Queensland’s border before it announces a resumption of operations (below).
12th May 2020 - Village Roadshow Chief Executive calls for JobKeeper extension as Queensland Government’s Coronavirus easing roadmap suggests reopening of theme parks, entertainment venues and stadiums in June
6th April 2020 - Village Roadshow Theme Parks backs staff during lockdown
29th April 2020 - AALARA updates members on attractions sector challenges
25th March 2020 - AALARA releases COVID-19 Action Plan
25th February 2020 - Ardent Leisure shares fall after critical Coroner’s report into Dreamworld tragedy
30th December 2019 - Sea World polar bear Liya dies aged 19
11th September 2019 - Village Roadshow Theme Parks reveal schedule for opening of new Sea World attractions
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