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Nov 30, 2018
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Went to Hershey yesterday for opening day and first time in a park since COVID began and had several observations:
  • The park seemed pretty busy, though it’s likely the attendance wasn’t super high. Main issue was a lot of attractions were closed causing longer queues in the attractions that were open. I assume this is a staffing issue and will get resolved shortly.
  • Mask wearing is very inconsistent. You must wear a mask or face shield to enter the park, but after that there wasn’t much enforcement except on a few rides. I’d put overall mask wearing at about 50-60% of guests, with about 5-10% of guests not wearing a mask at all - I.e, they took it off and put it away. Since there are no mask rest areas the remainder it’s hard to judge harshly since it was quite hot out and people could be catching their breath, eating, or getting a drink.
  • Social distancing In queues was pretty much non existent. They were stickers and arrows down, but hardly anyone followed them. This was worst in the water park where masks aren’t used. Hopefully better staffing can resolve this, though staff were metering in people for what would be riskier crowded areas.
  • Cleanliness was pretty good and high risk areas such as restrooms and changing areas were being constantly cleaned.
  • Some rides went every other row, some did not. I couldn’t really discern the why for each.
Overall the park did ok, though they should have capped attendance much lower initially to ramp up operations better. I’m guessing they’ll tighten up some of the issues once staffing and training gets to where it needs to be.
 
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Mar 16, 2016
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@rswashdc good write up. Hearing from friends that are passholds that while it got a little better it sadly did not improve much from preview to opening day. One said about the only thing going right is you can only share a row with the people in your party.
 
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Nov 30, 2018
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It’s really a staffing and capacity issue in my view, though guest behavior is a big issue too with those who are flippant towards masks and social distancing. The capacity is too high for the volume of staff to manage, which creates longer queues, lack of social distancing, and poor guest behavior. E.g. Both the lazy river and wave pool had long lines to enter which would spill out to the walkways if social distancing were actually occurring by guests. However those long lines were almost certainly due to the kids pools all being closed.
 
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Mar 16, 2016
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There's not much outside of reducing capacity that could help with that TBH. Opening more rides would spread the staff just thinner. I had one person tell me in all honesty Hershey could close everything in the boardwalk.
 
Nov 30, 2018
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They need to reduce capacity, and if need be the state may need to come in and mandate it. Right now they are operating at 50% capacity, but half the water park and about 1/3 of the regular park rides are closed. The 50% capacity limit should be based on everything normally open to allow social distancing, otherwise the park is just operating at the same density as it would in normal times.

After seeing this I’d be concerned if BGW and KD get 5k or 10k limits whether they just open a small portion of the park and cause similar crowding issues.
 

b.mac

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May 14, 2011
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That mask percentage number combined with the lack of social distancing is alarming. I hope state governments have some plan in place to tell parks to shape up or shut down.

After opening day the policy was changed requiring guests to wear masks in the line and on the rides. If they do not have a mask they cannot ride, and enforcement has increased due to that.

There were two incidents the entire weekend that I am aware of for a guest refusing to wear a mask on a ride.

Out in the pathways mask wearing had improved from my experience but still people were not wearing them properly out on the midways. Mostly from my experience the groups I have seen not wearing them properly on the midways were at least trying to distance themselves from other groups, sitting on benches and tables away from the midways and such.

The distancing on the trains is mostly to keep multiple parties from mingling together in the rows. Hershey is believing on most rides that each row has enough distance on most rides to not need to block off rows, however for rides like the wooden coasters and the wild mouses, it's more every other row or one party per unit.

Sanitization was originally once every three hours on the trains and high touch areas but after complaints about the sanitizers used on the trains they are getting cleaned every evening and only if a seat is wet during the day.

At least from what I understand with how Hersheypark is handling cases, for now the area is low threat in terms of risk of an outbreak and if conditions worsen like with Allegheny County then Hersheypark will likely follow suit with what Kennywood did. However we will not know if Hersheypark's neighboring counties will explode or not until a few weeks from now. Outside of Philly and PBurg Pennsylvania has been fairly solid as a state in terms of how they've handled COVID in spite of the political posturing and people being dumb.
 
Nov 30, 2018
1,297
1,332
250
Went to Hershey yesterday for opening day and first time in a park since COVID began and had several observations:
  • The park seemed pretty busy, though it’s likely the attendance wasn’t super high. Main issue was a lot of attractions were closed causing longer queues in the attractions that were open. I assume this is a staffing issue and will get resolved shortly.
  • Mask wearing is very inconsistent. You must wear a mask or face shield to enter the park, but after that there wasn’t much enforcement except on a few rides. I’d put overall mask wearing at about 50-60% of guests, with about 5-10% of guests not wearing a mask at all - I.e, they took it off and put it away. Since there are no mask rest areas the remainder it’s hard to judge harshly since it was quite hot out and people could be catching their breath, eating, or getting a drink.
  • Social distancing In queues was pretty much non existent. They were stickers and arrows down, but hardly anyone followed them. This was worst in the water park where masks aren’t used. Hopefully better staffing can resolve this, though staff were metering in people for what would be riskier crowded areas.
  • Cleanliness was pretty good and high risk areas such as restrooms and changing areas were being constantly cleaned.
  • Some rides went every other row, some did not. I couldn’t really discern the why for each.
Overall the park did ok, though they should have capped attendance much lower initially to ramp up operations better. I’m guessing they’ll tighten up some of the issues once staffing and training gets to where it needs to be.
After a repeat visit, mask wearing is up significantly to around 80% and the guests just straight not wearing a mask anywhere is probably down under 1%. Hershey’s has security personnel in the walkways reminding guests to wear masks and this seems to have helped a lot.

Social distancing in queues is still a problem though it was a bit better today, so at least that is trending in the right direction.

Overall it looks like Hershey recognized the issues they had opening weekend and took steps to rectify much of the issue. It isn‘t perfect, but it’s definitely a much stronger performance.
 
Mar 9, 2010
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We decided to get some coaster time in today and went to HersheyPark since our friend has the pass that gives him two free tickets. I was very encouraged to see the reports on this page from mid-July of security teams enforcing masks and improving social distancing in line, but what we witnessed today was a normal Thursday for HersheyPark, pre-pandemic.

Mask wearing was alarming, to say the least. I would estimate that maybe 35% of guests were wearing masks. At one point, I counted 100 people within my eye sight that didn't even have them on. Twice, I witnessed team members welcoming guests without a mask even around their chin into shops with no response to put them on.

Social distancing in queues was a major issue today. Every line we experienced had zero social distancing. At one point, we were asked to move forward by another guest as we attempted social distancing.

For us, the worst part was that security team. We ran into them at least 5 times today. Each and every time, we witnessed the team walk right by guests with no mask and say not one word. We observed them check on lines with no request to distance.

In defense of the park, our friend did mention that he was shocked to see the park doing nothing, as he goes weekly, sometimes twice a week, and has witnessed people being asked to leave because they wouldn't wear their mask.

Overall, we were really disappointed in the lack of enforcement. We're really hoping we just missed every attempt at the park to enforce the guidelines, because it was an alarming day. The park just had that normal Thursday operational feel, pre-pandemic.
 

Zachary

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Sep 23, 2009
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This is horrifying. The reports I’d been hearing had been overwhelmingly positive too—so much so that I was definitely planning to head up there this year. If I drove all that way to find an experience like the one you’re describing I’d be furious.
 
Mar 9, 2010
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@Zachary I will say the rides we did feel comfortable waiting for, we witnessed on all of them the op staff announcing over and over for each dispatch that masks are required before the ride is dispatched. On Skyrush, ops announced over and over for 5 minutes before the offenders finally caved and put it on and they could dispatch. But not to worry, as soon as that ride dispatched, it was right back around their chin.

What my friend recommended is we try again on a Tuesday/Wednesday due to his consistent experiences on those days. We've decided, based on his experience, that it was the crowd that was able to attend on a weekend. I trust what he tells me, and like you, we've heard so many positive things outside of what he's said. Could be that the weekend is just not the time to go.
 
Mar 16, 2016
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@Zachary I will say the rides we did feel comfortable waiting for, we witnessed on all of them the op staff announcing over and over for each dispatch that masks are required before the ride is dispatched. On Skyrush, ops announced over and over for 5 minutes before the offenders finally caved and put it on and they could dispatch. But not to worry, as soon as that ride dispatched, it was right back around their chin.

What my friend recommended is we try again on a Tuesday/Wednesday due to his consistent experiences on those days. We've decided, based on his experience, that it was the crowd that was able to attend on a weekend. I trust what he tells me, and like you, we've heard so many positive things outside of what he's said. Could be that the weekend is just not the time to go.

This is pretty consistent with what friends that go quite often tell me....weekends are a bit of a mess.

But I'll add that antidote about Skyrush is troubling. Do the ride ops have no ability to just remove someone from the right that won't follow the rules? Because waiting 5 minutes to dispatch is a little absurd. And you got to know that they would undo it the moment they could.
 
Nov 30, 2018
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There were some posts in one of the Hershey FB groups about fights and unruly behavior on Saturday, so it's possible security was tied up dealing with those issues such that mask enforcement took a backseat. The Saturday problems seem to be the case at several parks pre-pandemic, and is something where the parks need to get more aggressive about both kicking out troublemakers and making sure they have the technology in place to keep them from coming back to the park.
 
Apr 5, 2011
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When I went, enforcement was great, but there was hardly anyone in the park. I get that enforcement is harder with more people, but the park needs to be scaling up the enforcement with the larger crowds.
 
Mar 9, 2010
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Well, even after our experience yesterday, our friend convinced us to try it again today. He wanted HP to redeem itself, and it showed. Today was night and day. We saw little enforcement, because it wasn't needed. The park had a very light crowd and they were visibly more compliant. Lines were a bit hairy at times, but when we started to distance, others followed in respect. That is if the ride even had a line.

We did get to ride Candymonium. Airtime for both of our rides was nice. My friend isn't bothered by airtime, but he has a funny stomach, and the back row ride was too much for him. We caught rides on the "Reese" and "KitKat" themed trains. Both hauled through the course. Trims were quite strong, but it didn't ruin our personal experiences. It is a short ride but such a nice addition to the park. The turn around that fountain is very nice. Personally, we still prefer Mako,.

@Pretzel Kaiser I completely agree. The level of crowds from Saturday to Sunday was leaps apart. However, security was just as prominent today. I'd recommend they pull some presence, from today even, to beef up Saturdays.

@warfelg my friend was really surprised at the Skyrush event. He hadn't seen that before, and just didn't know what to say. The crew just seemed to be doing "as trained" because no one really left their station and the booth operator just kept repeating the spiel over and over. I was a bit surprised none of the attendants would even walk over to the guest to specifically address him.

@rswashdc we, thankfully, did not witness that. We never really experienced a time where we felt security was stretched thin or lacking, so that added to the level of alarm at the lack of enforcement.

Overall, personally do not recommend anyone to go on a Saturday, unless you have to.
 
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Mar 9, 2010
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@DECoasteyGuy wow! Opps, but that did not look twizzler themed to me. ? We will need to really re-evaluate it when we get back. Who knows when that will be. We were rushing the second time (which was on the red train) because the coaster was a complete walk-on around 2:30p.
 
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Apr 22, 2019
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A friend of mine was there recently and was not impressed at all. While people were wearing masks, in many cases they were not wearing them properly, and there was zero adherence to social distancing in lines. He'd keep back 6 feet, and then people would pile in around him. In some cases as close as 1 foot away both behind and beside him, which would be uncomfortable even if we didn't have covid to worry about.

EDIT: Reading back a bit... I believe this was Saturday as well, so it sounds like last Saturday was just an especially bad day to have gone.
 
Nov 30, 2018
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The only bad day I've seen for mask wearing was opening day which was the Friday before July 4th. Midweek and Sunday visits have been fine. Social distancing in queues continues to be an issue, though it's not so much an issue in the station itself, even without staff guiding guests.

My guess is that Saturday is the most likely day to get a larger percentage of daily tickets and one time a year visitors that aren't really ready for wearing masks outside all day. As the percentage of pass holders increase, behavior improves as the modeling of behavior by regulars encourages non-regulars how they should act. When that percentage goes down, the behavior wanes and it becomes a free for all.
 
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