People visiting Six Flags theme parks and water parks this summer will be required to wear a face mask at all times, the company says, as it prepares to reopen its first park to visitors for the since the coronavirus forced mass closures. Six Flags says it also will use thermal imaging to screen temperatures of guests and employees before they can enter.
Frontier City in Oklahoma City will be the first Six Flags park to reopen, on June 5. But before visiting, customers will need to make a reservation and bring a mask; anyone who doesn't have a face covering will need to buy one at the gate, the company says.
"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," the company announced Tuesday. Special accommodations can be made for people with "disabilities, health concerns, religious restrictions, or other circumstances" that would prevent them from wearing a mask, Six Flags said.
Capacity will also be restricted, and people will be required to maintain physical distance as they stand in line for rides, food and other attractions. The safety protocols will apply across all of Six Flags' 26 locations in the U.S., Mexico and Canada.
"Frontier City, like all Six Flags parks, is an outdoor attraction that poses a significantly lower risk of exposure than indoor venues," Six Flags President and CEO Mike Spanos said in a statement about the plans. He added, "Because our parks cover dozens or even hundreds of acres, we can easily manage guest throughput to achieve proper social distancing."
Every U.S. state is now in the process of relaxing at least some of the restrictions that were put in place in the weeks after COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic. Many Americans and public officials alike are now weighing how to curb the coronavirus while also restarting normal activities and planning for the summer.
Oklahoma began allowing a broad range of businesses to reopen on May 1, from restaurant dining rooms to movie theaters and gyms. The state further relaxed restrictions when it entered the second phase of its reopening plan on May 15. It's poised to begin the third phase on June 1.
Oklahoma was reporting more than 6,000 COVID-19 cases and 315 deaths as of Tuesday morning, according to the state Department of Health. More than 2,800 cases – roughly 46% of the current total — have been reported in the past 30 days. The state says more than 4,800 people have recovered from the respiratory disease.