Busch Gardens reopens today; online reservations, masks required

Local News

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Busch Gardens is set to reopen on Thursday, but the experience will be a little different.

First things first, guests are required to wear face masks, and they’ll have to book a reservation online to get tickets.

They also must have their temperature taken before they enter the park.

“If someone is above 100.4 degrees, what we’ll do is we have a cool station, so our guests will be allowed to go into that cooling station for approximately 10 to 15 minutes and then we’ll have one of our healthcare professionals recheck their temperature, and hopefully once their temperature is all set, they’ll be allowed to enter the park,” said Vice President of Park Services Erick Elliott.

Once guests are inside, they’ll be greeted with masked employees and signs encouraging social distancing. Sanitation stations were installed throughout the park. Employees will be cleaning rides and trams frequently, and social distancing measures will be in place.

“We’ll have different spacing for the seating for different rides. So, this one has two people in a row, Sheikra has eight across, so you’ll have two seats in between, we’ll be doing extra sanitization techniques, making sure the rides are cleaned more frequently,” said Vice President of Marketing Aimee Jeansonne Becka.

Restaurants will look different as well. There will be less seating and utensils will come pre-packaged. Buffet-style restaurants will be closed.

The park is bringing back thousands of employees in a phased approached.

“Not only does that mean great things for our Busch Gardens employees, but it also means more travel. The hotels, we’re hearing great things from the beach hotels and the downtown hotels, ‘hey we’re starting to see reservations again,’” said Busch Gardens President Stewart Clark.

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