Amusement & Entertainment Industries: Reopening During COVID-19

Businesses across the amusement and entertainment industry are beginning to open up. Summer is here, and this is when the amusement and entertainment industry does the bulk of its business. However, the amusement and entertainment industry, like all industries, is in uncharted waters with the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the industry opens up, there is a lot of uncertainty when it comes to best practices and staying in compliance. It’s not surprising considering nobody has ever faced this, and the rules and recommendations are frequently changing.

We’re going to examine the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and recommendations for reopening and look at some specific scenarios within the amusement and entertainment industry to add context. 

Initial steps for the amusement industry reopenings 

Amusement and entertainment operators should consult with their local and state governments’ health and safety teams about the requirements for re-open. Most, if not all, amusement operators will likely start with a partial opening to ensure social distancing is maintained.  Additional queue line space might be required with directions for guests to stay in compliance with social distancing.

Focus on capacity management 

A primary focus of amusement and entertainment businesses is capacity management. It will change the entire landscape of how industry venues do business. Amusement parks, carnivals, arcades, and so many more businesses might consider selling tickets during set intervals and allowing a limited number of guests to enter during set intervals. One-way traffic flows will minimize contact between guests. 

 Operators will leave seats or entire rows vacant on rides, and many businesses will reduce dining room capacity for social distancing. For example, Shanghai Disneyland opened up in May well below standard capacity and planned to build up to a maximum of 30% capacity slowly. 

Businesses like bowling alleys and arcades should consider spacing out customers and have a dedicated staff member present to wipe down machines and equipment after each use. 

Planning and preparing for an outbreak 

Amusement park operators need to be ready to have policies and procedures in place for the event of another outbreak or COVID-19 spike in the fall. Owners and operators should create an emergency plan to help protect the health of staff, attendees, and the local community. The CDC has established guidelines to help operators plan. Planning should include:  

  • Encouragement of staff and attendees to stay home if feeling sick. 
  • Developing flexible refund policies for attendees. 
  • Providing supplies for employees and attendees to help better prevent the spread of germs. 
  • Working with public health officials to stay in compliance. 

Preventing the spread of COVID-19   

Educating staff and attendees is the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within an amusement or entertainment establishment. The CDC states that the current best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. Training all staff about best practices and posting signage throughout the park about best practices will help mitigate the risk of spreading the virus. 

The CDC states that to prevent the spread of COVID-19, everyone should: 

  • Wash hands often 
  • Avoid close contact – stay at least six feet apart 
  • Cover mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others 
  • Cover coughs and sneezes 
  • Clean and disinfect regularly 
  • Monitor your health 

Host regular meetings to discuss any new updates to the virus situation and company procedures. If there is some staff, who can work from home, allow them to reduce risk and exposure. Transparency is critical to the success of the business and the wellbeing of the staff. 

Response to confirmed COVID-19 cases 

How should amusement and entertainment operators respond to a confirmed case or cases of COVID-19 within their community? If there is a moderate spread of COVID-19 within a local area, the CDC recommends canceling events that include 250 people or more. The CDC recommends canceling the event if the event is likely to have ten or more people who are at higher risk of severe COVID-19 illness, such as older adults and people with underlying health conditions.  

If an individual develops symptoms of COVID-19 during the event, separate the individual from others as soon as possible. They should be provided with a clean, disposable facemask to wear if available. If needed, contact emergency services.

The CDC has established guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting rooms and areas where a person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 has visited. The comprehensive guidelines break down different areas to be cleaned and the proper methods to clean them. 

Even when amusement and entertainment venues follow best practices, the unexpected can still happen.  McGowan Allied Specialty Insurance is dedicated solely to these industries. We are here for you as not only a partner but also a resource to help you through the unexpected. Our team hopes this information will aid you in your reopening efforts.

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