Park establishes preparedness plan for protecting health, safety of patrons
SomerSplash Waterpark plans to reopen to the public June 29 at 50 percent capacity, establishing in-depth guidelines to ensure patrons remain healthy and safe as the community emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Developed by SomerSplash Waterpark Director Stephen Sims, the plan takes into consideration guidelines and standards from various organizations in the industry, including the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions and the World Waterpark Association. It also follows Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Team Kentucky Healthy at Work recommendations.
“We’ve worked diligently to create a thorough plan that will keep our community healthy and safe,” Sims said. “We understand guidelines change quickly, and we will be ready to adapt at any time. Our community relies heavily on SomerSplash to provide families with a safe, clean and fun atmosphere where they can make memories that will last a lifetime. I am elated to be able to give them that opportunity this year.”
Somerset Mayor Alan Keck said Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear’s recent announcement that Kentucky Kingdom and public pools will be able to reopen in a limited capacity on June 29 helped drive the city’s decision. Because there is no evidence to indicate that COVID-19 spreads through properly operated and treated pools, Keck said patrons should feel safe enjoying the park while following established guidelines.
“We are thrilled to be able to open the waterpark safely for the remainder of the summer season,” Keck said. “SomerSplash is an invaluable resource to families and extremely important to our local economy. Having this option gives residents another safe way to get outdoors and be physically active while continuing to follow best practices for their health.”
SomerSplash contributes nearly $3 million to the local economy annually, creating more than 120 jobs during a normal Memorial Day to Labor Day season.
Sims said 50 percent capacity at the park — roughly 1,050 people including staff — allows for 36 square feet (or 6 feet) of space per person, complying with social distancing recommendations. Announcements will be made regularly reminding patrons of the importance of social distancing, and markers will be placed on the ground around rides, attractions and point-of-sale lines at concession, admission and merchandise areas.
Seating will also be limited to the number of patrons allowed into the park, Sims said, with family and household units being the only groups permitted to sit together.
A no-contact infrared thermometer will be installed at the park entrance to screen employee and patron body temperatures. No one will be admitted if they have a temperature of 100.4 or higher. The preparedness plan describes in detail what other safety precautions will be implemented throughout the park. Highlights include:
- Requiring face coverings for all employees;
- Requiring all employees who come in contact with items that others touch to wear gloves or other personal protective equipment;
- Screening employees daily for COVID symptoms (coughing, shortness of breath, chills, difficulty breathing, muscle pain, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, or a temperature of 100.4 or higher) and requiring a physician visit if they exist;
- Installing plexiglass barriers at all point-of-sale stations;
- Installing hand sanitizing stations throughout the park and at the entrance of each ride or attraction, as well as regularly cleaning and sanitizing park equipment, restrooms and high-touch areas;
- Implementing a dedicated entrance and exit to restrooms;
- Testing water quality throughout the day, maintaining proper chemical levels;
- And, encouraging patrons to use credit or debit cards whenever possible.
The preparedness plan can be viewed in its entirety here.
Patrons who purchased waterpark passes for the 2020 season will be given options for refunding or extending a portion of their pass. For more information, call the waterpark at (606) 679-7946.