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Coronavirus update 27.05.20: news from the attractions industry

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COVID-19 is still wreaking havoc on the attractions industry. However, the news this week has been dominated by the reopening of theme parks, museums, and zoos. This includes the reopening of Universal Orlando Resort and Legoland Florida Resort.

Legoland Billund is also set to reopen, and Merlin Entertainments has created videos and guides to help visitors with the new measures and procedures at its attractions amid the coronavirus pandemic. Also reopening are Puy du Fou in France, Xcaret Park in Mexico, and Space Center Houston in Texas. Read on for the latest news on the COVID-19 outbreak from the attractions industry.

Attractions news on COVID-19 outbreak

chester zoo reopening covid-19 outbreak
Chester Zoo/Twitter

UNESCO and the International Council of Museums (ICOM) released details of two studies looking at how museums are affected by coronavirus. UNESCO warned that nearly 13 percent of global museums may never reopen.

Chester Zoo is preparing to reopen safely and has installed an array of physical safety measures. The attraction, which hopes to reopen soon, will heavily limit visitor numbers and will implement social distancing.

Genting Malaysia Bhd has delayed the opening of its outdoor theme park (OTP) at Resorts World Genting (RWG) by more than 12 months to Q4 2021. It also reported a net loss of nearly MYR418 million (US$96 million) for Q1 2020.

Disneyland, Universal, SeaWorld and other theme parks in California can reopen in Stage 3 of California Governor Gavin Newsom’s four-part reopening plan. “Phase three is not a year away. It’s not six months away. It’s not even three months away. It may not even be more than a month away,” said Newsom.

Attractions reopening amid COVID-19 outbreak

six flags frontier city health and safety coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak news attractions
Six Flags

Universal Orlando was confirmed as the first major theme park to submit to the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force. The task force later unanimously voted to approve the phased reopening plan for Universal Orlando. The resort has confirmed that Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure and Volcano Bay will welcome visitors on June 5.

Legoland Florida Resort is officially reopening on June 1. The attraction will implement enhanced health and safety measures, including reduced capacity, cashless payments, social distancing and additional cleaning amid the outbreak of COVID-19. Legoland Billund Resort also got the green light to reopen with safety measures in Denmark on June 8.

In more attractions news surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak, Six Flags Frontier City in Oklahoma City is reopening with limited capacity from June 5. Six Flags has also released extensive safety measures for reopening its theme parks.

Puy du Fou announced plans to reopen to visitors on June 11. It will remain open until November 1, and will implement various health and safety measures, in accordance with government guidelines. Europa-Park shared its extensive health and safety precautions in a video explaining the ‘new normal’ ahead of reopening on May 29.

Grupo Xcaret is reopening Xcaret Park and Hotel Xcaret Mexico on June 15. The company also unveiled its health and safety protocols, known as ‘360 Xafety’, to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Space Center Houston, the official visitor center of NASA Johnson Space Center, is reopening on July 1. It will boast new exhibits, spacious outdoor experiences and additional health and safety measures.

Attractions industry responses to COVID-19

DOF Robotics disinfection cabin

Embed announced its new COVID-19 Resource Center, which adds even more support to its existing offer, the COVID-19 Relief Act. This includes a Mobile Wallet launch toolkit, as well as a reopening toolkit.

Clip ‘n Climb released a survey for FEC guests, tracking opinions on safety measures and precautions. The initiative was launched to help the attractions industry find its way amid the outbreak of COVID-19.

DOF Robotics is developing autonomous disinfection robots and smart disinfection cabins to support medical workers fighting the COVID-19 outbreak.

KMIT Solutions is working to help frontline workers during the coronavirus pandemic with its parent company Wild Republic. The group is also offering a time and capacity-based admission module to help attractions reopen safely following the outbreak of COVID-19.

ROLLER, the ticketing, CRM and POS specialist, can help attractions reopen smoothly and safely after the COVID-19 pandemic with the time-based visitation management capabilities of its software platform.

Resources for attractions amid COVID-19

national wwii museum
The National WWII Museum

Ecsite, the European network of science centres and museums, revealed more details about Escite Day on June 11. There will be virtual activities, as well as extra evening activities. There will also be several sessions taking place ahead of the event, including webinars and member exchange sessions.

The American Alliance of Museums (AAM) has various resources to help museums cope with the impact of COVID-19. In addition, IAAPA is updating its resources as the global attractions industry navigates the global coronavirus crisis.

IAAPA also launched a way for the sector to connect digitally, the IAAPA Virtual Expo: Asia, which will take place from July 28 to 30. This follows the earlier postponement of IAAPA Expo Asia due to the coronavirus pandemic.

And finally…

ICON blackpool pleasure beach
Blackpool Pleasure Beach

The first ever UK Theme Park Awards have added the Best Lockdown Activity category, recognising in-home entertainment during the coronavirus pandemic. Offerings from nominees such as Alton Towers and Drayton Manor include live-streams, educational activities, puzzles, and games.

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Bea Mitchell

Bea is a journalist specialising in entertainment, attractions and tech with 10 years' experience. She has written and edited for publications including CNET, BuzzFeed, Digital Spy, Evening Standard and BBC. Bea graduated from King's College London and has an MA in journalism.

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