Park of the Week: Islands of Adventure

Now The Netherlands' Efteling Closes Again, Too

November 4, 2020, 11:15 AM · And that's it for Europe's top theme parks, as now Efteling in The Netherlands has announced that it also will close again as the Covid-19 pandemic continues across the continent.

Previously, theme parks in Belgium, England, France, Germany, and Italy had announced their closures as governments across Europe order new lockdowns to combat a resurgence in novel coronavirus cases. Today, Efteling announced that it will be closed for two weeks — from tomorrow through November 18 — in accordance with new Dutch rules. The Efteling hotels, holiday villages, and the Efteling Golf Park will remain open, though the swimming pool in Holiday Village Efteling Bosrijk will close.

"We have all worked so hard together to offer our guests a safe day out and to safeguard the continuity of the Efteling theme park. But of course we understand this decision and we will take our responsibility. Only by acting together will we get the coronavirus under control and this is how we as Efteling are doing our bit," the park said in a press release.

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Replies (12)

November 4, 2020 at 1:14 PM

Targeted shutdowns are so smart, though you can only do them with a population willing to respect science and do the things necessary to keep the infection rate low.

As it stands in America, we'll be lucky if Disneyland opens in 2021.

November 4, 2020 at 1:35 PM

Seriously, when the nations who had this better under control have to do shutdowns again, reopening one of the biggest parks in the U.S. with our spikes is crazy.

November 4, 2020 at 2:07 PM

Now is probably not a great time to give the green light for Disneyland to open, but the conditions were ripe for California parks to open over the summer and early fall, and the State of California sat on its hands before issuing guidance that virtually assures the state's parks will remain closed for another 6+ months. That's the argument here. Theme parks have demonstrated themselves as safe places to visit during the pandemic, and have not been the vectors of spread some so-called experts claimed they would be. Yes, European and Asian parks have (and will probably continue) to toggle parks opening and closing based on data, but that doesn't mean they need to keep their gates closed indefinitely as they've been in California.

The State of California lost an opportunity, but instead decided to take their own path, which is leading to unintended consequences that could irreparably damage an important industry and source of revenue for the entire state and its citizens. Again, it's probably too late to try to open Disneyland now, but if California had acted responsibly (like every other place around the globe), the parks could have been open for a few months under safe conditions before potentially closing or limiting operations when conditions worsen.

November 4, 2020 at 3:22 PM

if California had acted responsibly (like every other place around the globe)

Have to stop you on that as it's obvious many places around the world did not act responsibly here. I'm not even talking U.S. the UK was messy refusing to take it seriously, forced to major lockdowns then reopening too fast so now on lockdown again. And a few other countries also pretty bad handling this even if not at our levels.

November 4, 2020 at 5:31 PM

See MikeW, that's a false premise. Just because a country has to close back down or tighten restrictions, doesn't mean they opened too quickly. Aside from complete, long-standing shtudowns accompanied by a vaccine, the virus will continue to spread and impact our lives. Even a country like New Zealand that was given the highest marks for their response had a resurgence of the virus after nearly 2 months of ZERO cases. They didn't do anything wrong nor did they reopen too quickly, but the virus still came back. The virus is not going ANYWHERE, and short of keeping humans in complete isolation for months/years on end and allowing our societies to come to a screeching halt for some unknown amount of time, it will come back. Adjusting restrictions based on the current risk, which will constantly change, is the best way to allow humanity to prosper while still protecting our posterity.

November 4, 2020 at 5:50 PM

Yeah, but come on Russell, now you're offering a false premise, because while sure, the virus can't be eradicated, that doesn't begin to excuse the criminally negligent job the US has done failing to respond. NZ had a resurgence and instantly stomped on it; Germany has had a bigger resurgence and is quickly all over it. Meanwhile, the US has done less than nothing--with the lies coming out of the WH against masks, we've actually helped the transmission as compared to every other developed nation.

"Adjusting restrictions based on the current risk" must acknowledge that the virus has never been more wide spread than it is right now, and that HUNREDED OF THOUSANDS more Americans are going to die in coming months.

In other words, we can't even begin talking about reasonable restrictions, because we are in an unreasonable position and aren't even doing the first thing--everyone wearing masks!--to stop it. The result, of course, is months, maybe even another year of shutdown absent someone intelligent (cough, cough) taking charge and requiring everyone to mask up and act sensible.

When you're in the middle of an unchecked wildfire, there's no point in talking about whether kids can play at the playground.

November 5, 2020 at 6:03 AM

It's a bit strange we lock down for 2 weeks as the curve was already going down...but the politicians "want to be sure".
On the other hand it's just for 2 weeks buts starting up and shutting down is for some theaters too much and they will close until this whole crap is over.

November 5, 2020 at 9:27 AM

It's not a false premise thecolonel, because there are places even within the US and other places around the world where spread has been stable and under control for extended periods of time, and theme parks have operated safely with no recorded cases traced to visits to a theme park. Many of these theme parks are operating in what California would categorize as in the Orange Tier (or in a few areas the Red Tier), which is a level where California is prohibiting theme park operations (though allowing other tourist destinations to remain open). Whether people outside the theme parks are using masks is irrelevant, because INSIDE theme parks gates, most parks are strictly enforcing their use.

That's where I think we're missing the boat here. Officials should be establishing rules and guidelines based on the data and updated scientific guidance on keeping the spread under control. It's absolutely true that the US has not done a great job of that, and much of that is due to poor leadership and ignorance by notable swaths of the population that are taking their queues from leaders that flaunt the dangers that this virus poses. However, the ignorance and stupidity of a vocal minority should not cloud the data, and if they show stable or decreasing trends in virus transmission, there's absolutely no reason to keep theme parks closed, just as it's negligent for officials to allow theme parks (and other businesses that draw crowds) to remain open when transmission is high and increasing. It's pretty simple, and you're seeing these principles play out around the world as officials adjust restrictions and guidance based on current data and understanding of how the virus spreads.

While I doubt anyone here knows exactly what the costs are to open and close a theme park, I would wager to guess that it's more profitable for a park to open for a month and then close for 2-3 weeks (or longer) than it is for it to stay closed for 6-7 weeks.

November 5, 2020 at 10:50 AM

"[I]f they show stable or decreasing trends in virus transmission, there's absolutely no reason to keep theme parks closed."

Well, if you're stable at 100,000 new infections a day, I disagree, though I generally agree with your point. The problem, of course, is that America is Number One with a bullet, over 100,000 infections a day and going up, up, up! Meanwhile our President, who will be here for at least another two month, will continue to promote behavior that drives that number _higher_. We are at the beginning of this rollercoaster.

Absent a change in leadership, and the MAGA crowd being FORCED to wear masks, which as I understand it is hard for a President to order, there's no reason to believe we'll be able to reopen anytime before Summer 2021, if then. Theme parks, movie theaters, nightclubs, bars and restaurants--all will be lost, and all because 40% of Americans are hypnotized into believing lies over science.

November 5, 2020 at 11:17 AM

But that's the point, if infections are increasing, which they are in most places around the country/world, then officials should start putting more restrictions in place to reign the virus back under control. However, when the data are stable and/or decreasing, which was the case over much of the late summer and early fall, then restrictions put in place to control the spread should be slowly relaxed. That's what the rest of the world did, but California dragged its feet, and lost a prime opportunity to allow parks to generate revenue for at least a couple of months.

"Absent a change in leadership, and the MAGA crowd being FORCED to wear masks, which as I understand it is hard for a President to order"

I don't disagree that there should be some stronger mandates to require mask use, which is a simple and relatively painless way to control spread in situations where people have to come in close contact with each other. I also agree that the Chief Executive is a big reason why certain individuals feel that such a simple request represents "tyranny". However, such mandates for mask usage should not come from the Federal Government. We live in a Republic where states establish most rules and regulations to govern societal norms, particularly ones that will most likely be temporary measures during a health crisis. Some states have issued those mandates (including California), but others have not. Some states have further protected their citizens by requiring quarantine/isolation for people that travel to/from states that don't have mask mandates and/or have high community spread (California doesn't do this FWIW).

Maybe call it a "flaw" of our system of government, but it's what Americans will need to work with, and we should not undermine the principles of our government simply because certain state leaders don't want to get with the program. The same could be said about travel to and from other countries as well, but we don't dictate health policies to other countries, thus one state should not be dictating policies to others until interstate commerce becomes affected, which is where the Federal Government can wield its power under the Commerce Clause in Article 1 of the Constitution.

November 5, 2020 at 12:00 PM

@Russell: However, when the data are stable and/or decreasing, which was the case over much of the late summer and early fall, then restrictions put in place to control the spread should be slowly relaxed.

That's what the UK did...and now back on lockdown. And Illinois much the same but once more indoor dining is banned because of a spike. Because a reaction of easing restrictions is folks thinking the danger is passed and can come out in higher numbers and not be as careful washing hands, etc. Which is why Illinois still makes mask mandates no matter what while states that didn't even have that are much higher in rates (again, Iowa has seen 27 percent against California's 2.9.)

November 5, 2020 at 12:36 PM

Just because areas go back into lockdown doesn't mean they did anything wrong or reopened too quickly. Officials need to strike a balance between reducing the risk of spread while not bringing their constituents to their knees. There is significant collateral damage to long-lasting lockdowns, and psychologists warned about the mental toll of people being confined to their homes for months on end. When all of this started, a number of mental health experts argued that toggling activates/businesses off and on was more advisable in the long run than trying to bring transmission down to near zero through hard, long term quarantines. The argument was that society can only take isolation for so long, and the risk of transmission through short (1-2 month) opening/closing cycles would be far less than if areas were to stay locked down for months and then slowly reopen.

I have been reading an increasing number of articles about the fatigue and mental exhaustion that are affecting thousands of people, and bringing many to (and sometimes over) the brink. Until a vaccine is widely distributed, it is going to be better long term for our own sanity to toggle activities on and off instead of trying to bring transmission down to near zero through long-lasting quarantines, only to have it come back after months of pain and sacrifice.

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