Reopening New Jersey: Six Flags Great Adventure to reopen July 3 with safety measures

JACKSON, New Jersey (WABC) -- Just in time for Independence Day, Six Flags Great Adventure announced plans to open for the 2020 season on July 3.

In accordance with Governor Phil Murphy's opening guidelines for amusement parks, Six Flags Great Adventure will operate with reduced attendance levels and in preview mode beginning July 3.

The park will open to Members and Season Pass Holders exclusively during this preview phase, and to the general public beginning July 4 before gradually increasing attendance levels throughout the month.

The park is implementing extensive new safety measures and hygiene protocols, including several new advanced technology systems to protect guests and employees. These procedures will be adjusted on an as-needed basis to ensure compliance with state recommendations.

A preview date for Six Flags Hurricane Harbor is forthcoming.

"Six Flags Great Adventure and Hurricane Harbor are beloved outdoor destinations for so many in the Northeast, and we look forward to welcoming families back to our parks," park President John Winkler said. "The safety of our guests and team members remains our number one priority, and the new safety guidelines we have put in place are designed to create a safe environment for everyone."

The parks will employ an online reservation system to manage attendance, schedule guests for entry by day, and to stagger arrival times to minimize proximity exposure.

Other new technologies include:
--State-of-the-art thermal imaging for temperature checks
--Advanced security screening technology for touchless bag checks
--Mobile food ordering.

The parks' reopening plan, which the company developed in consultation with epidemiologists, meets or exceeds federal, state, and local guidelines for sanitization, hygiene, and social distancing protocols.

"We have developed a comprehensive reopening safety plan that includes protocols designed by theme park and waterpark industry experts, along with best practices from top destination parks from around the world, which will allow guests to experience our parks in the safest way possible," Six Flags President and CEO Mike Spanos said. "This new normal will be different in some ways, but we believe these additional measures are appropriate in the current environment."

Reopening procedures include:

Health Screenings for Guests and Team Members
--Contactless IR thermal imaging will be used to screen temperatures of guests and employees prior to entry
--Individuals will be required to acknowledge and abide by the company's health policies, which prohibit park entry if guests have recently been exposed to or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19
--Following CDC guidelines, all guests over the age of two and all team members will be required to wear face masks covering the nose and mouth throughout their visit/work day
--Masks will be available for sale at the front gate for any guest without one
--Masks will not be required on waterslides, water attractions, or in pools

Strictly Enforced Social Distancing
--Easy to identify distance markers will be added in all park entry, ride, restroom, retail locations, and dining queue lines
--Dining areas will be adjusted to allow ample space between seated parties
--Guests will be separated by empty rows and/or seats on all roller coasters, rides, and attractions
--Six-foot viewing areas will be marked for guests to observe game play while adhering to social distancing requirements
--Advanced security screenings will enable touchless bag checks
--Guests viewing outdoor entertainment will be separated by at least six feet
--Capacity at indoor venues and on some attractions, including the Wave Pool and Lazy River, will be reduced to meet social distancing requirements
--Guests will be allowed to ride on a tube with family/group members, but will not be allowed to share a tube with those not in their immediate party

--A limited number of complimentary lifejackets will be available upon request; however, families are encouraged to provide their own coast-guard approved lifejackets for children under 42 inches, or those who are not strong swimmers. All Hurricane Harbor lifejackets will be sanitized after every guest use

Extensive Sanitization and Disinfecting Protocols
--Trained and dedicated cleaning teams have been put in place
--Rides, restraints, and handrails will be cleaned throughout the day
--Team members will frequently sanitize and disinfect high-touch points, including public seating, tabletops, counters, doors, trash cans, deck chairs, life jackets, tubes and rafts
--Restroom staff will be stationed to disinfect each stall, sink, and shower area on a frequent basis
--Multiple hand-washing and alcohol-based hand-sanitizer stations will be located throughout the parks
--All team member work areas will be regularly sanitized and disinfected

Sanitized Food Preparation and Service
--Modified menus and implementation of mobile food ordering will help facilitate touchless transactions
--Self-service buffets and salad bars will be reconfigured to eliminate guest contact with food
--Condiments, self-serve cutlery, and napkins will be provided to guests with their meals as required
--Beverages will be served by attendants; any drink bottle refills will be served in a paper cup each time guests refill

Commercial-Grade Cleaning Equipment and Supplies
--All employees will be issued Team Member Action Packs which will include a safety face mask, safety glasses, and disposable gloves
--Low pressure backpack sprayers will be utilized for disinfecting large areas
--Abundant supplies of sanitizers and disinfectants will be available
--Microfiber cloths will be used to sanitize surfaces
--Queue line supplies, fencing, and tents will be in place to promote safe social distancing

Multi-Layered Guest and Team Member Communication
--Frontline team members will go through extensive COVID-19 training
--Safety messaging and reminders will be displayed on Six Flags' website, and in newsletters
--Distance markers and physical distance indicators will be in place
--Informational safety signage will be posted throughout the park

Park Reservations System to Manage Attendance
Six Flags will establish attendance caps that will be well below the park's theoretical capacity in order to allow for proper social distancing. All Members, Season Pass Holders and all guests with a single-day or group ticket will need to make a reservation at SixFlags.com/reserve. Guests who need single day tickets will be able to reserve during the purchase process. The process will take 5-7 minutes, and guests will complete the following steps:

--Enter their online order number, ticket number or Membership/Season Pass number
--Select the day and the approximate time they want to visit
--Acknowledge their understanding of the company's health policy
--Order pre-paid parking, if they do not already have a parking pass
--Watch a brief video describing new social distancing and sanitization procedures

The park's website and social media channels will announce the reservation system's launch date. Guests will be contacted electronically (either by email, text or both) the day before their scheduled visit to confirm their intent to visit. All Members and Season Pass Holders will receive booking priority over single-day and group ticket buyers.

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