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Magic Springs Theme and Water Park announced Thursday that it will open its doors for the 2020 season June 1, limiting attendance.

In accordance with a plan approved by Gov. Asa Hutchinson as part of the state's Ready for Business initiative, Magic Springs will put in place redoubled, rigorous sanitizing protocols and social distancing efforts and will continue to follow the guidance of state health agencies to provide "a summer of safe outdoor family fun in the sun during these extraordinary times," the park said in a news release.

Michael Wampler, the park's director of sales and marketing, told The Sentinel-Record on Thursday that both the theme and water parks will open June 1, but they will allow fewer patrons.

Wampler said attendance numbers are confidential, but the business will allow 30% of capacity for the theme park and 50% for the water park.

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Wampler said the park will do "hourly ticket counts." He said staff will count both how many people enter and how many exit each hour to make sure the number of visitors does not exceed the allotted percentages.

He said at this time the park does not anticipate the number of visitors to reach those percentages, "but we will certainly be closely monitoring the attendance." He noted attendance is usually larger on weekends and park staff are "encouraging people to visit during the week."

"The safety of our guests has always been our number one priority," Jack Bateman, the park's general manager, said in the release. "As Arkansas' only Theme and Water Park, Magic Springs has been a place for families to create unforgettable experiences, but now we must go above and beyond the state and federal protocols in light of the new health concerns. We want to do our part to keep everyone safe while they enjoy their summer at the Thrill Capital of Arkansas."

Among the safety measures that will be in place, Wampler said, is that visitors will be kept socially distant from each other in the queues and, as a result, "every ride will look packed."

"It may appear it has a line out the door," he said, noting there will "definitely" be a long line at the park's entrance.

The park will limit the number of guests allowed on rides at one time and employees will wipe down the rides after each use, he said, noting that "wait times may be longer than usual" as a result.

Splash Island at Magic Springs Theme and Water Park will remain closed because guests can’t maintain an adequate social distance at the attraction, according to a park official. Sky Shark in the theme park will also remain closed because the attraction’s harness can’t be sanitized, according to a park official.

State guidelines will be followed to ensure families can enjoy the park while maintaining social distancing, the release said. Guests are highly encouraged to bring their own masks, which will be required for all indoor dining locations. Hand sanitizer will be available at locations throughout the park.

To limit person-to-person contact even further, the park encourages guests to purchase discount admission tickets, in-park meal vouchers and parking online in advance of their visit to minimize cash transactions.

Employees who are in contact with visitors will wear masks with the exception of the lifeguards, Wampler said.

Some staff members have been moved to the cleaning team and will be using the "strongest sanitation supplies" that they have, he said, noting the entire staff will be "educated on sanitation" before the parks reopen.

This article has been updated. The original version gave an incorrect reason for the continued closure of Splash Island and Sky Shark.

Metro on 05/22/2020

Print Headline: Magic Springs sets limited opening June 1

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