Silver Dollar City patrons know the signs -- "You will get wet" -- seen at the entrance to many popular rides.
This season, there will a little more reading required. Signs will help visitors to the Branson, Mo., theme park know where to stand for comfortable social distancing. Capacity on rides and attractions as well as in certain buildings and walkways throughout the park will be limited. Facial coverings are required for visitors 3 and older. And buffet restaurants on-park will now be serving cafeteria-style.
It obviously took "much preparation, numerous operational changes and added health and safety measures for guests and employees," but Silver Dollar City is finally ready to open for the 2020 season. Season pass holders will be the only guests admitted on June 13-14, with a general opening on June 15.
According to Brad Thomas, president of Silver Dollar City attractions, daily park capacity will be limited, and reservations for both season pass holders and day trip guests will be required. Visitors -- and employees -- will also be checked for elevated temperatures as they enter the park. If a screening reveals a temperature of 100.4 or higher, that guest and anyone who traveled in the same car will have the cost of admission refunded or will be issued a raincheck for another day.
"As we play together, we must do so just a little further apart," Thomas says. "The health and safety of our guests and our employees have been the top priorities guiding every decision."
Thomas also points out that "we take cleanliness and hygiene seriously, and we will be increasing efforts to help prevent the spread of germs. We're adding hand-sanitation and portable hand-washing stations throughout the park, rigorous and frequent cleaning of highly touched surfaces and increased hygiene signage in public and employee areas. We're following guidelines from the [Centers for Disease Control] on prevention and encourage our guests to do the same."
Other Branson attractions owned by Herschend Family Entertainment will also be ready for visitors mid-June. White Water, a 13-acre water park, will open June 15-16 for season pass holders only and June 17 for general admission.
"White Water will have similar guidelines as those put in place for Silver Dollar City, including a contactless temperature scan prior to entry, reduced daily capacity limits, capacity adjustments for rides and restaurants and a requirement to wear a mask or face covering," according to company spokeswoman Lisa Rau.
The Showboat Branson Belle will open June 20.
"Reservations are encouraged, but walk-up purchases are allowed," Rau says. "Showboat Branson Belle will also follow guidelines to include a contactless temperature scan prior to entry, reduced seating capacity and a requirement to wear a mask face or face covering except while eating."
"'Creating memories worth repeating' is our mission," Thomas says. "Families are facing many challenges today, and we are excited to welcome them to create new and exciting memories."