Managing large crowds at indoor attractions amid the pandemic

Staff at indoor attractions in Panama City Beach are required to wear masks (WJHG).
Staff at indoor attractions in Panama City Beach are required to wear masks (WJHG).(WJHG)
Published: Jun. 6, 2020 at 5:05 PM CDT
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With double reg flags flying on the beaches Saturday and a weekend forecast with plenty of rain, indoor attractions tend to see more crowds.

"People want to get out, they've been in long enough. so, they're coming in," Funland Manager Ginny McDavid said.

At Funland, Ripley's, and WonderWorks, staff say they are prepared to manage the large volume of visitors.

"When it does rain, it does get busy, so because of the COVID stuff that we are doing, it limits the amount of people we can put in the building," WonderWorks General Manager Mike Walsingham said.

Before the pandemic, 600 to 800 people were allowed inside WonderWorks at a time, now it's around 250. A crew cleans throughout the whole day wiping down rides and attractions and more than 40 hand sanitizer stations have been placed all over the building.

"Everything is interactive, there's a lot of touching and stuff. So, we have lots of sanitizing stations set up for everybody and we encourage everybody to do that," Walsingham said.

Across the street at Ripley's, employees are required to wear masks and gloves. About 200 guests are allowed in the building at a time.

"We are really trying to keep that distance between the guest and the employee," Ripley's General Manager Lee Ann Leonard said. "Many measures in place for the guest as well, we offer complimentary masks and gloves, some rides we require that they wear the gloves."

Guests are noticing the changes amid the pandemic.

"I looked around and saw they had the six-feet rule posted everywhere, so that made me feel safe," Tania Hill said. "They are at least recognizing the safety precautions."

At Funland, safety precautions are also in place. Seating is limited in the snack bar area to comply with social distancing guidelines.

Hours have also been limited at some of the attractions so the buildings can be cleaned before and after each day.

Copyright 2020 WJHG. All rights reserved.

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