(June 12, 2020) Amusement parks, mini golf and go-kart tracks are open tonight at 5 p.m. after being forced to close as a result of the covid-19 pandemic. Gov. Larry Hogan made the announcement during a press conference on Wednesday, citing the state’s decreasing number of hospitalizations and vastly improved coronavirus test results.
Trimper’s Rides, Sportland and Marty’s Playland, all on the southern end of the Boardwalk, and Baja Amusements in West Ocean City have spent weeks preparing for this opportunity.
On Monday, representatives from various parks, event venues and restaurants on the Eastern Shore urged Gov. Larry Hogan to expand business openings and explained their plans during a press conference in Grasonville.
Antoinette Bruno, president of Trimper’s Rides, said that the number of rides would be reduced.
“We’ve cleaned, we’ve scrubbed, we’ve polished every ride car in the amusement park,” Bruno said. “We’ve taken apart all of our skeeball and our video games.”
On Facebook, Trimper’s said that Tidal Wave, Spinning Coaster, Balloon Ride, Haunted House, Pirate’s Cove and Mirror Maze will be open tonight. Next weekend, all rides will be open.
There will be a ticketless option for customers to reduce contact.
Trimper’s published a list of staff protocols on its Facebook page. Among other things, employees must wear gloves and face masks, must have temperatures checked daily via infrared thermometers, and will limit guests on each ride and sanitize after each use.
In addition, guests will be provided with disposable facemasks upon entry, disposable gloves will be required for Private’s Cove, Funhouse and Mirror Maze, sanitizing stations will be at the entrance to every ride, and the park will be fully sanitized at the end of each day.
Customer guidelines have also been posted at the park.
Bruno said that the park’s walkways, which range from 13 to 24 feet wide, can help reduce traffic on the 28-foot wide Ocean City Boardwalk.
Baja Amusements Manager Valerie Kramer said Baja has been working on reopening procedures for the past three months, and has added signs listing covid-19 rules.
“These rules include asking customers showing symptoms of covid-19 or have recently been in contact with someone with covid-19 to not enter the park,” Kramer said. “These signs also remind customers to follow social distancing rules and maintain a six-foot distance from people, except for others in their household.”
She added that there are social distance markers for customers waiting in line. Sanitizing stations have also been installed at each track, ride, ticket booth, restroom and other areas.
“We have added sanitizing solutions that we will use to wipe down the go karts and specifically wipe down steering wheels, belt buckles, miniature golf clubs and any other high-touch areas in the park,” Kramer said.
The snack bars will remain closed. Employees will be required to wear masks if they interact with guests. Employees must also undergo a daily temperature check.
Each track only operates with two to three employees, thus allowing them to maintain a safe distance while working, Kramer said.
“We have listened to the experts, we have prepared our businesses and we have put precautions in place,“ Kramer said.
Jerry Greenspan, owner of Sportland, has prepared signs to remind guests of social distancing guidelines.
“We have arrows for entry,” Greenspan said. “We have arrows for exits. We have ‘thank you for social distancing’ for our games.”
There will also be hand sanitizer from Seacrets available.
Marty’s Playland will open next weekend. Manager Joe Mohr said the arcade has installed hand sanitizing stations and wipe stations for games.
“We’ve also marked on our floors six-feet markers and have the dots that say ‘Social distancing, six feet apart,” Mohr said. “We’ve also put signage everywhere throughout the arcade – one for showing where the hand sanitizing stations are and also notices for wearing face masks.”
All equipment will be sprayed and sanitized at the end of each day.
At the redemption counter for customers to turn in tickets, Marty’s has taped off six-foot sections for people to wait in line at a distance.
There will also be a limit on the number of people in the building.