KUALA LUMPUR, July 2 ― While there is no escape from the sobering reality of the Covid-19 pandemic anywhere, Malaysians can now escape being cooped indoors in the sweltering July heat by hitting up some theme parks in the country as of July 1.
Among the early birds in Malaysia are Sunway Lagoon in Selangor and the Lost World at Tambun in Perak, which will reopen their doors on July 4.
Sunway Theme Parks executive director Calvin Ho said all 90 attractions at Sunway Lagoon will be available to visitors ― barring the Wave Pool which is under repair but will be fixed by end of the month.
Similarly, all 88 attractions at the Lost World will be available to visitors.
However, Ho said there will be a limit to the number of visitors at both theme parks from now on.
“We will be capping the number of visitors at 50 per cent of the existing capacity and will enforce crowd monitoring to ensure that there will be no overcrowding.
“This will also be done at every ride station,” he told Malay Mail in an email interview this week.
But to ensure sufficient space for movement and to avoid crowding around the main entrance, the second entrance at Sunway Theme Parks Surf Beach will be opened.
Ho seemed confident that visitors will be hitting up its theme parks soon in spite of the constant threat of the coronavirus, noting that travel restrictions were being relaxed slowly but surely.
“We managed to reopen our Wildlife Park on June 13 for both parks and have had visitors come in,” he said.
He added that there had been several inquiries on when the rest of the theme parks would reopen, prior to the government’s announcement, which indicated strong interest among theme park enthusiasts.
He said the management had used the downtime during the movement control order (MCO) to review its operating standards and sanitation practices.
“We have also implemented various sanitisation, cleaning and safety processes that will become the ‘new norm’ for our theme parks.
“We will continue to observe these safety and hygiene precautionary measures in the long run,” said Ho.
Apart from crowd control measures, Ho said visitors should take note of Sunway Theme Parks new regulations for their own health and safety.
This includes a requirement to fill in a digital self-declaration form before entering the theme parks, body temperature checks at the entrance, social distancing in queues at the ride stations and sanitising their hands before and after exiting the rides.
Wearing face masks is also highly encouraged.
Ho said Sunway Theme Parks is also introducing an online booking system and contactless payment system at food and retail shops.
Welcome back promotion
Ho said as a gesture of welcome, Sunway Theme Parks is rolling out a special opening package on July 6 called “Ke Sana Ke Sini Ke Sunway” that he hopes will draw in more visitors.
Sunway Lagoon too is offering complimentary merchandise to its first 1,000 visitors on July 4 and 5.
Additionally, online purchasers will get a free Quack Xpress, a pass which allows visitors to bypass queues for express entry to rides.
Malaysia is not the only country to reopen its theme parks this month.
Theme parks in the UK have been reported to resume operations from July 4, after the easing of lockdown restrictions was announced.
According to media reports by UK-based agencies, all the major sites will be back in action, except a few as they do not comply with the social distancing rule.
Over in Australia, the popular Gold Coast Village Roadshow's theme parks are set to reopen on July 15.
The Australian Financial Review reported that the Wet’n’Wild and Warner Bros Movie World will be open to the public but at half its visitor capacity.
However, things are looking less bright in the US where Disneyland Park, dubbed the “happiest place on earth”, has pushed back reopening.
Scheduled to reopen on July 17, the theme park’s 65th anniversary and which was itself a delayed date, it is now uncertain when Disneyland Park will resume operations.
Its cast members were reported by US-based gadget specialist site io9 as being “terrified” that they have to return to work amid Covid-19 concerns.
Various news agencies reported that Disney has postponed indefinitely the reopening date of its other theme parks in the franchise like Disney California Adventure Park and the Disneyland Resort Hotels just two weeks after announcing resumption of operations.
In a statement, the company cited reasons due to California’s state government saying that it will not issue theme park reopening guidelines until sometime after July 4.