Crowds returning to Queensland’s major theme parks on Wednesday seemed unfazed about the growing threat of COVID-19 clusters plaguing southern states.
Images from the reopening of Village Roadshow’s Gold Coast attractions show revellers not wearing face masks nor adhering to social distancing rules of 1.5 metres.
The scenes at the iconic MovieWorld were in stark contrast to lockdown measures imposed on Melbourne, forcing resident to wear face masks when in public.
Gates at MovieWorld and Wet’n’Wild opened at 9.30am on Wednesday, with both parks restricted to a capacity of 50 per cent.
The theme parks were forced to close on March 23 after coronavirus lockdown measures were imposed by the Queensland Government.
Revellers clustered together in queues for MovieWorld rides, which seem to be operating a full capacity.
One photo captured by NCA NewsWire shows only one seat vacant on the park’s DC Rivals Hypercoaster ride.
A Village Roadshow spokesman said masks and temperature checks were not required before entering the park.
The entertainment group also confirmed there were no capacity limits in place for individual rides, but cleaners were disinfecting rides between use.
It also noted patrons must adhere to 1.5 metre physical distancing rules throughout all its venues.
The reopening comes two weeks after Village Roadshows opened its other two parks – Sea World and Paradise Country. In their first two weeks, which coincided with Queensland’s school holidays, it’s believed up to 4500 people passed through daily.
Village Roadshow CEO Clark Kirby said it was wonderful to see people back at the park.
“We have the whole company humming and are starting to see good momentum,” he said.
No theme parks have had to turn anyone away yet, Mr Kirby added.
“I don’t foresee that being an issue, especially at this time of the year; we’re outside of school holidays now,” he said.
“And really, when we talk about a 50 per cent capacity, that’s considering the capacity of Boxing Day or the really key days.
“So, look, I wish we were in a situation where we were turning people away, but we’re still getting really strong crowds through but certainly not turning anyone away.”
Despite Queensland students now back at school, park staff are hopeful they’ll still see good crowd numbers.
“It’s not easy, when you’ve got such a large area like at SeaWorld and Paradise Country,” Mr Kirby said.
“But overall, we’ve had a lot of inspections. We will continue to work with the state government, and continue to refine the program.
“But it’s been flawless so far.”
The parks had to make significant changes as part of their COVID-safe plan, including physical distancing throughout all parks and venues, mandated downloading of the Village Roadshows Theme Parks app, increased sanitation of attractions after each use, and contactless payment throughout the parks.
Village Roadshows also said team members would maintain high standards of physical hygiene with water fountains and printed maps removed from both parks.
At MovieWorld, the Streets Star Parade and Main Street Performances will not resume yet, and there will be a reduction in how many people can be in theatres and at meet-and-greets.