As the UK now starts to open up its services, my family decided it would break from the 3 month stuck at home cycle and venture to a theme park (Partially driven by an expired offer, which was extended by a few months).
For background; I’ve not been out other than some shopping and to spend some time outdoors. So the idea of being out all day was a little strange, but there comes a time when we need to returning to things we once did!
On 15th July, we visited Chessington World of Adventures (near London). On entering the park we were asked to socially distance in the queue and have our temperature checked. This was expected but there were a number of people who just didn’t appear to get it !
The park by their own admission was quite busy (apparently the busiest its been in a few weeks), but not full in any way.
The park had set out yellow paw prints on the floor to separate people set at 2m, but it felt like 4! There were posters and announcements asking people to stick to i, but it was clear people didn’t want to keep their distance. ( I was fortunate not to have to ask people to move away! )
To note, although you’re keeping distances, the queues zig zag past the queue on the other side. So I’m not sure how useful keeping your distance is in reality because you’re going to be in contact with someone to your left or right (or both) at some point in the queue.
All the resort staff were masked. Hand sanitiser was at the start and end of each ride (optional to use).
The rides closed every 30 minutes (for about 5 minutes) to allow for deep cleaning, but that was mostly someone spraying liquid over the rides, which was not then wiped or dried off. Being honest I’m not convinced the spray would catch all the virus, and had expected it to be wiped to cover the entire surface. With the spray not wiped down your presented with a sticky damp seat, and surfaces.
Every ride has some form of queue and hand rails – during my time I hadn’t seen anyone wipe these. During the queue, its inevitable your’ll be touching and leaning on these whilst you wait.
Some rides required masks, people obeyed and wore them as directed, but other than that most people were not wearing any form of PPE.
I think we were lucky, the people in front and behind left space, but on a good few occasions, queues were bunched up. Some people kept more apart, others however didn’t – (there were announcements).
The queue length was quite excessive at times (way longer than advertised – no doubt because their time systems can’t adjust to the rides being at reduced capacity, so provide misleading queue times)
We had a good time even though it was weird. I’m not sure I’d do it again for a while though. Clearly not all guests are prepared to keep social distances, and thats always going to be an issue.
The park wasn’t too full, when we were not queueing there was space, but the queues made me feel exposed. Let’s hope the checks on everyone’s temperature is a reasonable and fair test to ensure that a asymptomatic carrier isn’t mingling amongst us.
Advice to Chessington: wipe down your rides when you clean them, wipe the hand rails rails, and probably at this stage make masks compulsory in your resort.