Six Flags Introduces New Health, Safety Measures

May 26, 2020, 1:56 PM · Six Flags today announced that its Frontier City park in Oklahoma City will reopen on June 5, starting with members and season pass holders then gradually returning to other guests. To prepare for the park's return, Six Flags also detailed its new health and safety procedures that the company will introduce at all of its properties.

"We have developed a comprehensive reopening safety plan that includes best practices from theme park and waterpark industry experts, along with top destination parks from around the world, which will allow guests to experience our parks in the safest possible way," Six Flags President and CEO Mike Spanos said.

"Frontier City, like all Six Flags parks, is an outdoor attraction that poses a significantly lower risk of exposure than indoor venues. Our guests are not confined to one space for lengthy periods. Guests move constantly throughout their experience; some are riding rides, some are eating in restaurants, while others are shopping in our souvenir stores, or playing games. Because our parks cover dozens or even hundreds of acres, we can easily manage guest throughput to achieve proper social distancing," Spanos said.

As previously announced, Six Flags will be requiring visitors to make a reservation in advance before visiting. This applies to members and season pass holders, too. Reservations, which will be for a specific time as well as date, can be made via www.sixflags.com/reserve. Parking will need to be pre-paid, before arrival.

At the park, Six Flags will use a contactless IR thermal imaging system to screen temperatures of guests and employees prior to entry. All guests over age two will be required to wear a mask, and masks will be available for purchase by those who do not come to the park with masks. Parks will implement a new touchless bag check system, as well.

Inside the park, Six Flags will encourage social distancing with distance markers in all queues plus empty rows and/or seats on all rides. Arcade games will be reconfigured to comply with social distancing requirements or closed and people watching will have to stand six feet away from players.

Six Flags team members will be cleaning the park throughout the day, outfitted in masks, safety glasses, and disposable gloves. Parks will offer multiple new hand sanitizing and washing stations and encourage visitors to use mobile food ordering through the Six Flags app to keep more transactions touchless.

Dining areas will be reconfigured to keep parties six feet apart and team members will hand out condiments, utensils, and napkins as needed rather than making them self-serve as before. You'll get drink "refills" served in a paper cup rather than refilling a bottle yourself.

Reopening dates for other Six Flags parks have not yet been announced.

Replies (5)

May 26, 2020 at 2:31 PM

Interesting how this is the first Six Flags park opened. I'm two hours from Gurnee where Great America is and given how strident Illinois has been on shelters and such, intriguing to think how strong they'll have to be on rules if they reopen in July as planned. It shows they face some challenges Disney and Universal don't.

May 26, 2020 at 3:29 PM

Absolutely MikeW. My biggest concern is not the rules that SF has enacted here, but their ability to enforce them and the average Six Flags guest to abide by them. Will SF have the chutzpah to eject a guest for crowding, not wearing a mask, or generally unhygienic behavior? They have a hard enough time enforcing line cutting, offensive/provocative clothing, fighting, and other abhorrent behavior that many guests despise but go on unchecked.

Also, I wonder about the SF water parks. Many jurisdictions are announcing that public pools will NOT be opening at all this summer (3 of the major counties in the DMV already have done this), which will increase demand for the SF water parks in those regions, especially their wave pools and lazy rivers. While attendance controls and additional cleaning measures may help some, I'm not sure how it will control demand from families wanting to take a dip in the pool, particularity in the SF parks where the water parks are attached to the dry park and not a separate gate. The most interesting part for me would be the hygiene controls in the changing rooms, which in my experience were already sub-par in terms of cleanliness, air circulation, and guest comfort. They'd essentially have to station a person full time in those areas to maintain cleanliness, but what employee wants stand in that environment hours at a time without a Tyvek and respirator?

May 26, 2020 at 5:55 PM

While I have confidence that the management team at Frontier City will do their due diligence to make the park safe for patrons, I don't have faith at all in my fellow Oklahomans. While OKC and Tulsa were under shelter in place restrictions, the rest of the state never was. Now that restrictions (what little there was) at the state level have been lifted, I can see how Six Flags would use Oklahoma as the testing ground. We've been lucky so far that hospitalizations have remain low and we haven't had any large spikes as of late.

The following is partially anecdotal, but I have visited the city zoo twice since it has reopened. The employees wear masks and they are cleaning railings and other touch surfaces frequently. The zoo also has a designated path that you must travel through it rather than allowing guests to venture wherever they want. Food stand lines have squares that you must stand on in order to queue up to them. There are signs reminding patrons to maintain social distancing. These measures are great, but there is a problem. Some of the patrons (in my visits, roughly 2/3rds) mindlessly disregard them. That is concerning and if people can't respect others sense of space at a zoo, I can hardly fathom what they will do at a theme park.

So that's why I'm choosing not to visit for at least a month or maybe more or maybe the whole season. I would rather wait and see statistically how much infections may increase before I decide to allow myself to venture into that environment.

The park does have an indoor motion based shooting gallery ride and I'm curious if it will be closed. The rest of the rides are outdoors, but each has many touch points that a patron could interact with.

May 26, 2020 at 11:29 PM

Will they eject a guest for general unhygienic behavior?

Well...it's not like they have a great track record doing that already....

May 27, 2020 at 8:40 AM

Well Six Flags is much smarter than I thought. My wife loves the animals and the safari at Great Adventure. So what do they do after I dropped my membership because all we were interested in was the safari? Yes, the drive thru safari is back! So, we are members again. Very smart moves especially with the rumor that Kilimanjaro Safari will not be open when AK opens.

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