Swedish theme parks barred from reopening this summer

Liseberg

The Swedish government has confirmed that theme parks will not be able to reopen as gathering of more than 50 people are currently banned.

The theme park industry had hoped that they would be given an exception to this restriction, however this has not happened.

No exception for theme parks

In mid-June the guidance in Sweden changed to allow domestic travel for symptom-free people. And according to Interior Minister Mikael Damberg, this “easing of restrictions…will suffice.” He continued, saying that the government is “responsible for ensuring that the spread of infection does not take off in Sweden,” The Local SE reports.

Damberg went on to explain that “many groups have wanted exceptions” such as water parks and concerts. He emphasised the Swedish government’s aid for crisis-hit businesses to support all businesses affected by this 50-person limit.

One billion kronor loss in sales for Parks and Resorts

CEO of the Parks and Resorts Group, Christer Fogelmarck, said that this decision will have huge consequences. “As societies open up more and more, we have for a long time been preparing to open with restrictions in line with the recommendations, just as has been done in neighbouring countries. I really believed that we should be open.”

He continued saying “My thoughts go to the thousands of young people who will now not get their summer jobs. The Parks and Resorts Group now expects to lose one billion kronor in sales this year.”

The Parks and Resorts Group own Gröna Lund, Skara Sommarland, Kolmården and Furuvik

Frustration as theme parks in Europe reopen safely

This decision is especially difficult as theme parks across Europe are reopening with health and safety measures in place. Julia Vasilis, information manager at Liseberg said that “we have taken enormous steps and believe that we can open safely. All other countries in Europe have an opening plan for theme parks, we thought we would get a positive message too. This was not what we expected.”

She explained that “during the spring and early summer, in anticipation of an announcement [allowing theme parks to reopen], risk analyses have been conducted and a number of measures have been taken to reduce the risk of infection. Everything from fewer visitors, to digital queues and different hygiene measures.”

Zoos are able to reopen

Zoos, however, are not covered by this 50-person restriction, and are therefore able to reopen. Safety measures such as a reduced capacity and social distancing measures are in place at zoos that have opened.

Kolmården Zoo, for example, has a limited number of tickets available each day, and has put out distance markers in all queues.

Meanwhile, Disneyland Paris will begin its phased reopening on July 15 and theme parks in the UK reopen from July 4, with new safety measures in place.

Image: Liseberg