Looking forward to working with the Province on a safe re-opening plan
Theme park operators across Ontario are ready to open this summer.Hope is building that the end of the pandemic is near, hope that is most certainly present in the tourism industry where many businesses and attractions have been working hard to develop re-opening plans in anticipation of an exciting — but safe and responsible —2021 season.
“We have been working hard with the province to create safe re-opening plans and appreciate the efforts from the Ministry of Tourism to be our partner towards making sure we have a 2021 season,” says Jamie Hopkins, General Manager of Santa’s Village and a member of the Waterparks of Ontario Coalition. “But we are at a critical point right now. Having been closed for more than a year, we will need three months to prepare for the summer weather — to get the equipment ready, recruit staff and ensure they are properly trained on the safe re-opening guidelines.”
Ontario was the only jurisdiction in Canada — and one of the few in North America — that kept water and theme parks closed last summer because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is the nature of the business to implement and enforce safety measures, and safety training for staff is extensive.
And they can be opened while respecting public health measures to prohibit the spread of the COVID-19 virus, including reduced capacity on rides, monitoring lineups to ensure adequate space between guest and posting signage throughout the park.
Allowing water and theme parks to open will also be a boost for the entire tourism sector, and Ontario’s economic recovery in general.
“Water and theme parks are key players in Ontario’s tourism industry, providing thousands of jobs for young people and attracting visitors who also stay in local hotels and eat in local restaurants,” says Jamie. “As part of a ‘staycation’ strategy to help the tourism industry rebound and get families out and about, theme parks are an integral part of the Ontario Reopening Plan.”