Great America has announced plans to open for business at the end of May, making it the first amusement park in California to set an opening date.
Large amusement parks like Great America can open once the county they’re in reaches the yellow tier, which is the least restrictive level in the state’s coronavirus guidelines.
Some amusement park fans say a start date is a good start, even if it feels a bit too soon.
“May is quite aggressive so, if not May, you know they have to have a target so if it doesn’t work in May, perhaps June or July,” said Steven Weiler of San Francisco.
Great America’s target opening date is May 22. The park will have limited capacity to ensure proper social distancing. Masks will be required, and customers will go through thermal screening at the entrance to check temperatures. Turnstiles to get on the rides will be touchless, opening by scanning tickets.
Jessica Malaty Rivera, an epidemiologist with the COVID tracking project, said the reopening plan comes at a tough time.
“We are still in the early stages of vaccine campaigns nationwide,” she said. “I would love to see us moving at a faster pace, with more comprehensive coverage that’s more equitable to all kinds of communities and right now we’re just not seeing that.”
Amusement parks in Florida opened late last year with similar restrictions as announced by Great America now.
They remained open despite a surge of cases there over the holidays. If Great America does open on schedule in Santa Clara, it remains to be seen if people will show up.
Some local residents think it’s too soon.
“I think it’s reckless,” said one San Jose resident. “Maybe they shouldn’t.”
Monique Tanguileg of Stockton agrees.
“Too soon, way too soon,” she said. “There’s too many cases still.”