COVID-19’s Impacts on BGW

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Oct 25, 2014
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Honestly I just wish we had just had a legit lockdown at the beginning. I’m thrilled that Busch Gardens is opening and I have no idea about the financial logistics of closing everything down again, that’s not where my knowledge lies. But overall I’m sick of this “in the middle” kind of living. I don’t want to go to Busch Gardens with masks and social distancing, I want to go to Busch Gardens normally. I wanna do everything normally. And it sucks to have a full lockdown for a short time but it’s better to be 95% over Covid than 50% for a long time. Again I don’t even know if having harder restrictions at this point would be beneficial (i’m not a scientist lmao) but I just wish people had taken it seriously to begin with. If that were the case maybe we’d all be able to go back to the park without worry.
 

nick

Why are you booing me? I’m right.
May 6, 2020
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Lockdowns can’t be the solution…it may slow the spread for a few weeks, but once things open up again, the virus will continue. The best news for Busch Gardens is that the vaccines are slowwwwly rolling out. The view I have had this whole time is that me & my family are in little to no risk categories. I too wish Busch Gardens would open fully without masks & social distancing & let people intelligently decide if it’s worth their risk going.
 

Nicole

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Jul 22, 2013
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Lockdowns can’t be the solution…it may slow the spread for a few weeks, but once things open up again, the virus will continue. The best news for Busch Gardens is that the vaccines are slowwwwly rolling out. The view I have had this whole time is that me & my family are in little to no risk categories. I too wish Busch Gardens would open fully without masks & social distancing & let people intelligently decide if it’s worth their risk going.
In a pandemic the assessment isn't just about the risk to you personally. It is about the threat of overwhelming spread and the impact on our healthcare and financial infrastructure. You as an individual may be happy to get COVID, because you believe you will survive, but as a group the fast and virulent spread, especially because of asymptomatic carriers, is the real ethical and practical issue.

Decisions about restrictions need to be made based on the good of the group.
 

Jonesta6

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Feb 14, 2019
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I mean.....New Zealand proved this wrong.
It's an island though - if I remember hearing correctly they cut off all transport in/out so they were not as susceptible to an outbreak.

That said, I believe someone did eventually bring it into the country though with their adherence to protocols it was mitigated fairly quickly.

Definitely much harder to replicate in a country such as ours that is much larger, has a much more diverse population, and has major land borders on both ends. Best chances for a full lockdown to work would likely be Hawaii, Alaska's backcountry towns/villages, the Aleutian Islands, or any of the island US territories.
 
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Mushroom

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I mean.....New Zealand proved this wrong.
That's a pretty oversimplified take. It ignores New Zealand's smaller population, isolated location, and cultural/social/economic differences between the US and New Zealand. The Boston Globe actually ran an interesting article on this exact issue. The consensus the article draws is that a strict, multiweek lockdown would never fully eradicate the virus in the US, and it would continue to spread as soon as the lockdown ended. To that point, I agree with @nick.

That said, I strongly disagree with his proposal to let BGW fully open and let people "visit at their own risk." All it takes is one asymptomatic person who feels totally healthy to visit the park and infect a slew of people if the proper safety measures aren't in place. More importantly, government restrictions aside, BGW would probably voluntarily keep many of their safety procedures (mask-wearing, social distancing) in place for business reasons. Personally, I would not feel comfortable visiting BGW if they did not have those procedures, and they would not get my business. I imagine I'm not alone. Remember that Northam has NOT mandated that outdoor business require masks for patrons who are outside; BGW made the decision to have a masks-at-all-times rule all on their own. That's solid evidence that BGW realizes that taking these safety precautions is good for business.
 
Sep 24, 2018
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even if the rules changed, why should we be grouping together with thousands of people? Personally I think its irresponsible to have thousands of people together in the same spot? If its such a concern why would you even risk having thousands of people together during a global pandemic?
There is also the fact that there have been no known outbreaks linked to visiting theme parks. In locations that have had theme parks open, there has also been no noticable increase in cases that can be attributed to theme parks operations. In Florida, they have been open since last June and there is yet to be an outbreak linked to either working at a theme park or visiting.

As has been said on this thread as we've learned more about the virus, we've learned that it is possible to do certain activities and be safe if proper precautions are taken. It seems that visiting theme parks is something that can be done safely.
 
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Oct 22, 2019
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I was talking with an acquaintance who was excited about taking a trip to Disney in the fall, and who was surprised when I informed them that they should expect the masks and social distancing measures to still be in place. Now, mind you, maybe we'll have reached a point of vaccinations where the existing safety measures are phased out by the time we reach Howl-o-Scream. But the reality is that from a liability perspective, major theme park chains are not interested in creating circumstances where they are either actively placing their guests at risk or APPEARING to put their guests at risk. And given that some people still can't be vaccinated for health reasons, even once we reach a much larger vaccination total than where we are currently there will still be a clear desire from a business perspective for an industry that defines so much of its operations on customer safety to err on the side of caution.

Lockdowns were never feasible in the U.S. for reasons that @Mushroom just broke down. It's worked in geographically isolated areas, and in situations where there is consistent federal/state government messaging about the virus, two things that America was never going to have. And so we live in a liminal state of precautions, with the goal not of eradicating the virus but of slowing its spread, protecting the most vulnerable, and reducing the burden on hospitals/medical staff so that people with non-COVID-related injuries aren't turned away from hospitals with no remaining ICU space. And in Virginia, as in other states, this has "worked": Virginia's ICU capacity never got above 83%, we weathered the early shortage of ventilators, etc. But the state still had its various waves of cases, particularly around the holidays, as people made personal choices that went against best public health practices.

I can't say why people made the choice to gather with family over the holidays, which is largely considered to be the reason for the surge in cases (and now deaths) in Virginia. But those were personal choices, in personal settings, and thus ultimately not something that the State could ever reasonably enforce. But the idea of a business like Busch Gardens shrugging its shoulders and saying "Eh, whether you want to risk it is up to you" is just not something that a large corporation would ever do. There's too much at stake in terms of their long-term brand and customer relationship to do anything other than what they've done: implement policies that go beyond existing state requirements and which give them the ability to communicate to their customers—including and maybe even especially those who might not be comfortable going to the park right now—that their number one commitment is creating as safe an environment as possible.

I've been a bit surprised by how the combination of the March/April reservations and Northam's loosening of non-theme park-related restrictions had dredged up this debate, here and elsewhere. We have been on this path since last summer. The fact that there are three—or more—viable and safe vaccines that are already being administered to over 13% of Virginians at this point is frankly WAY further along than I thought we'd be when the park was first talking about opening last summer, and so I've long accepted that while we're not close to "the end" of this we're on a clear path to it that was a whole lot murkier when the park opened in August. But it's clear that the fatigue people are naturally experiencing with this existence makes it easy to miss the bigger picture that's been forming over that period, which I can understand. But the best thing anyone can do is just accept that there are certain realities of COVID Parkgoing that are locked in regardless of other changes (capacity, operating times, etc.) that will happen the closer we get to "the end."
 
Mar 18, 2017
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That's a pretty oversimplified take. It ignores New Zealand's smaller population, isolated location, and cultural/social/economic differences between the US and New Zealand. The Boston Globe actually ran an interesting article on this exact issue. The consensus the article draws is that a strict, multiweek lockdown would never fully eradicate the virus in the US, and it would continue to spread as soon as the lockdown ended. To that point, I agree with @nick.
Look at the date on that article: March 26, 2020. Kind of wish all that outdated info could be deleted.

Disagree somewhat. A 2 week quarantine period is used by countries that have controlled the pandemic such as NZ. While no lockdown doable in the US can be completely effective, participation tends to vary inversely with length expected of the lockdown. It seems like that would have been better even if necessary to be repeated after some months.
 

warfelg

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Mar 16, 2016
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I think my point was being missed. The statement was lockdowns don’t work because the virus will pop up as soon as it’s over. Yes, NZ’s is unattainable here, but not for the reasons I’ve seen stated. But NZ is proof that a lock down can work against this virus.
 
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Mushroom

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Since we see success in other states, I would be interested in seeing less restrictions made by the state/county/Seaworld.
What are you talking about? With regard to social distancing and mask restrictions, SeaWorld has the exact same self-imposed restrictions BGW has.
 

nick

Why are you booing me? I’m right.
May 6, 2020
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What are you talking about? With regard to social distancing and mask restrictions, SeaWorld has the exact same self-imposed restrictions BGW has.
I’m saying there are counties & states that have fewer restrictions & have not had the catastrophic results everyone fears. I would be interested in Virginia, James County, and/or Seaworld to adjust their policies to be less strict so there can be more enjoyment at the park.
 

Mushroom

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I’m saying there are counties & states that have fewer restrictions & have not had the catastrophic results everyone fears. I would be interested in Virginia, James County, and/or Seaworld to adjust their policies to be less strict so there can be more enjoyment at the park.
Which states are you talking about? Florida is one of the more lax states when it comes to restrictions, and yet SeaWorld Orlando has still voluntarily implemented a masks-at-all-times rule for the park. Even if Virginia eased their restrictions, BGW would probably still keep their restrictions in place too.
 

nick

Why are you booing me? I’m right.
May 6, 2020
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SeaWorld Orlando has still voluntarily implemented a masks-at-all-times rule for the park.
And this is why I’m saying I know BGW has to initiate the conversation & start taking steps towards it. If Seaworld reduces restrictions in Florida (assuming local government cooperates), it allows them the chance to prove that safety can still be had without the restrictions.

You then bring this case to the table in Virginia and James County with your success. The conversation begins to change.

I know this is true because of my own industry. Our state requirements are heavier than Texas, but our offices in Texas are proving their ability to perform the same work without restrictions (no masks, no social distancing, etc) AND without causing massive infection. I think Seaworld could make that case, too, and I would encourage them to start working that direction.

I know that politics have decided much of what should have been science-driven decisions which should never have happened, but of course both sides (D/R) wanted it that way. With the Williamsburg area leaning D mostly, I don’t expect massive change in the near future. However, Seaworld could go ahead and experiment as allowed to build their case.
 

Mushroom

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And this is why I’m saying I know BGW has to initiate the conversation & start taking steps towards it. If Seaworld reduces restrictions in Florida (assuming local government cooperates), it allows them the chance to prove that safety can still be had without the restrictions.

You then bring this case to the table in Virginia and James County with your success. The conversation begins to change.

I know this is true because of my own industry. Our state requirements are heavier than Texas, but our offices in Texas are proving their ability to perform the same work without restrictions (no masks, no social distancing, etc) AND without causing massive infection. I think Seaworld could make that case, too, and I would encourage them to start working that direction.

I know that politics have decided much of what should have been science-driven decisions which should never have happened, but of course both sides (D/R) wanted it that way. With the Williamsburg area leaning D mostly, I don’t expect massive change in the near future. However, Seaworld could go ahead and experiment as allowed to build their case.
I think you misunderstood what I said. Florida already allows SeaWorld to let their guests walk around the park without wearing masks. SeaWorld, however, has decided on their own that they want to continue requiring masks at all times. This conversation has nothing to do with state restrictions, because SeaWorld requires masks even though the state doesn't require them. It's their choice as a business.
 

netdvn

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Jan 12, 2012
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For the record, Fun Spot is the only Orlando park that actually has loose restrictions and they still require their staff to wear masks and keep distance. Uni and SWO/BGT had stricter restrictions in place but the parks were much more crowded than I hoped. WDW was the most strict with their policies, going as far as making their staff wear masks and face shields.

Also don't use Texas and Florida as examples to follow for COVID guidelines. Both states have more cases than most countries.
 
Jan 5, 2021
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I am no expert on anything, but I would think forcing masks outside in the summer in Williamsburg will keep people away. In any event, I myself think wearing a mask outside in the park is a bit silly, however, my wife and I would do it for my daughter to enjoy the park and continue creating memories. Saying my four year old has to wear one though does not make sense, any way you slice it, and that will be the part that actually keeps us away until it is more fully normal. I can sort of understand everyone else for now wearing it, even though I don't like it, but the all people 2 and up part, I just can't wrap my head around.
 
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Oct 23, 2019
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I am no expert on anything, but I would think forcing masks outside in the summer in Williamsburg will keep people away. In any event, I myself think wearing a mask outside in the park is a bit silly, however, my wife and I would do it for my daughter to enjoy the park and continue creating memories. Saying my four year old has to wear one though does not make sense, any way you slice it, and that will be the part that actually keeps us away until it is more fully normal. I can sort of understand everyone else for now wearing it, even though I don't like it, but the all people 2 and up part, I just can't wrap my head around.
I'm with you. I went snow tubing 2 weekends ago and we were required to wear them as well. The odds of coming within even 10' of someone else is slim. I could understand having to wear them in areas where 6' isn't possible and maybe even indoors.
 
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