Theme parks: likely to reopen in May?

Published by Elodie D. · Photos by Julie M. · Published on 5 April 2021 at 17h19 · Updated on 6 April 2021 at 10h19
The reopening of theme parks is highly awaited, as the season usually begins in April. They hope to be able to reopen on May 15, a date that would match with the “progressive reopening of culture, sports, leisure, events, and our cafés, and restaurants” – Emmanuel Macron said. In the meantime, they are all working hard, hiring, and putting the final touches to their shows while waiting for the government’s blessing.

Earlier this year, we told you about theme parks and seasonal workers being the collateral victims of Covid-19. In 2020 already, these places had been allowed to reopen after months of closure with very strict health protocols that limited the number of visitors and flow. Exploitation conditions that slowed incomes but enabled the French to meet their places of leisure again.

The closure of theme parks back in October has escalated the winter closure of most of them. Since then, facilities and employees have been given no deadline. No minister has addressed their fate during televised speeches, as the sector represented 3 billion euros incomes in 2019, according to Capital. The government only promises them a nice envelop to cover fixed expenses, as they are faced with exploitation expenses. For instance, employees are required to attend animals in zoos, and to make rides run to prevent them from deteriorating.

In spite the lack of news, or because of it, theme parks are ready to bounce back as soon as they are allowed to reopen. Because of their sizes and because they are set outdoors, they hope to be able to reopen from May 15, for the Feast of the Ascension. Auvergne PAL park director and head of the theme parks union trade (SNELAC) Arnaud Bennet explains their demands to our peers from Le Parisien: “What we are claiming for is to be part of the first reopening wagon. Starting from June, like last year, would be too economically detrimental. We also wish measures made to our activity: a gauge not more severe than 2020, with food to take away in the park, and classic food serving in our hotels… Last year, we proved our protocols were spot on: there has been no cluster as ours”.

He goes on: “We keep talking with Tourism minister, especially as it comes to health protocols to instate, but we have been given no tickler. Like everyone else, we listen to what the government says and hope the contamination curve eventually decreases… And obviously, it cannot be in April”.

Disneyland Paris has already announced that both parks are to remain closed until further notice because of the Covid crisis. The place celebrates 29 years of entertainment in April, and one of the hotels has been requisitioned to become a vaccination hub.

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