Thorpe Park reopens for first time since lockdown

You’ve got to be this tall (and wearing a mask) to go on this ride: Thrillseekers flock to Thorpe Park as rollercoasters reopen for first time since lockdown with new anti-Covid restrictions

  • Theme parks were given the greenlight by the Prime Minister to reopen on July 4, ‘Super Saturday’
  • New safety measures in place such as temperature checks on entry and face masks compulsory on rides
  • Seats were left empty on rides and at live shows to make sure visitors were kept apart from each other
  • Some guests were left unhappy by people ignoring the distancing rules and long queue times in the park 

Thorpe Park welcomed visitors back through its doors for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown this weekend.

Theme parks were among the venues to be given the greenlight by Prime Minister to begin operating again on July 4 as the Government continues to ease lockdown measures.

‘Super Saturday’ as some people nicknamed it saw the return of theme parks, pubs, restaurants, hotels and many other businesses that had previously been closed while the pandemic was dealt with.

Thorpe Park welcomed visitors back through its doors for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown this weekend

All staff and guests were required to submit themselves to a temperature check at the entry gates of the park and anybody who refused or had a temperature above 37.8C, along with their group, were denied entry

Thorpe Park staff were required to wear PPE in the park and to regularly disinfect frequently-touched surfaces. Hygeine screens were also installed at food stalls to protect the staff

Which rides were not reopened?

  • Derren Brown’s Ghost Train: Rise Of The Demon 
  • The Walking Dead: The Ride 
  • Tidal Wave 
  • Rumba Rapids 
  • Storm Surge 
  • Depth Charge 
  • Angry Birds 4D Cinema 
  • Lumber Jump 
  • Rush 

Thorpe Park tweeted yesterday morning reminding people that they were opening again and welcoming visitors back.

Their official Twitter account tweeted: ‘Woohoo it’s OPENING DAY! We are so excited to be opening our gates and welcoming guests back to the Resort today!

‘Please remember that due to the new measures in place we have a limited capacity and therefore all tickets must be pre-booked. All tickets are sold out for today.’ 

As with other venues, Thorpe Park was not exempt from new rules and health and safety measures to make sure people enjoyed a safe visit.

Although the park reopened to visitors yesterday, the total number of people allowed into the park was reduced to allow for social distancing within the grounds and only visitors who had pre-booked tickets were allowed to enter the park.

Thorpe Park’s website offered visitors a list of checks to carry out before travelling to the site to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.

These included checking the park’s social media for updates on rides and news; bringing a contactless bank card to limit the amount of cash that was being exchanged and refraining from visiting if any member of the visitor’s group displayed symptoms of the virus.

As with public transport, face masks were also made compulsory on certain rides and rollercoasters – though water rides were excluded from this list.

The park were selling face masks for any guests that had not brought one from home.

One new rule implemented by Thorpe Park was making face masks compulsory on some rides, anyone who did not bring one with them needed to buy one inside the park to enter certain rides

Seating arrangements were also changed by Thorpe Park so that people from different groups were not allowed to sit next to each other and some seats were left empty to ensure people were distanced enough

New signs and markings were put up all around the park to help guide and inform guests about the best practises to maintain social distancing and ensure all guests enjoyed a safe visit

Upon arrival at Thorpe Park, all guests and members of staff were submitted to a temperature check before being allowed to enter the site.

Although details of guests’ temperatures were not retained by the park, any guests who refused to be tested or had a temperature above 37.8C, along with the rest of their group, were refused entry to the grounds.

Inside the park grounds Thorpe Park had also made changes to ensure social distancing was followed by guests and staff.

Markers and signs were installed at the entrances to rides and rollercoasters, toilets and dining areas to direct guests on how far to stand away from other people and members of staff monitored queues to ensure that the guidance was being followed.

The park also adapted the way it arranged seating so that in eating areas groups were kept at a safe distance by blocked and removed chairs, some rides left empty seats between guests and visitors enjoying live shows were kept at a safe distance from performers and other people.

In order to protect their staff, Thorpe Park also installed hygiene screens at service counters and food stalls.

To reduce potential contact with other people, cleaning routines were also changed so that high-frequency touch points were disinfected, hand sanitiser dispensers were placed around the park and food menus were adapted to more heavily emphasise ‘Grab & Go’ options.

Despite the precautions, not every guest came away having had a positive experience.

 Sarah Davies tweeted after her visit to say that although staff and the implemented safety measures were ‘great’ many people chose to ignore the markings and signs explaining how far they should queue for rides from other people.

Jannah Brown complained about the queue times to get on some rides. In a tweet she said: ‘I get there is delays due to cleaning etc but seriously what have we paid for today… the weather is 20C and sunny with clouds.’

Danny Thomas had a similar experience to Jannah and said that although he booked a two-day stay at the park, he had left to go home by 2pm yesterday because of the long queues.

What safety measures were put in place by Thorpe Park? 

BEFORE YOU ARRIVE:

  • All guests needed to pre-book their entry tickets as the park had set a limit on how many guests could visit in a single day. Those who had not pre-booked were denied entry.
  • Visitors were encouraged to bring a contactless bank card with them to reduce the number of cash transactions.
  •  Face masks were made compulsory on many rides and guests who did not bring one from home were required to purchase one in the park

 ON ARRIVAL:

  • All guests and staff were required to undergo a temperature check. Anybody who refused or had a temperature above 37.8C were denied entry

INSIDE THE PARK:

  • Signs and markings were introduced in queues to instruct guests on how far to stand away from other people
  • Eating areas were distanced by removing or blocking off chairs and an emphasis was placed on ‘Grab & Go’ food
  • Some seats were left empty on rides and for live attractions to ensure visitors were kept at a safe distance
  • Hygeine screens were installed at service counters and food stalls to protect staff and guests

CLEANING: 

  • High-frequency touch points were cleaned regularly by staff
  • Hand sanitiser dispensers were placed around the the park to be used regularly
  • All staff were required to wear PPE 

Thorpe Park staff wearing PPE prepare a ride. Face masks are now compulsory on most rides and some seats are left empty to ensure guests are distanced from each other

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