Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Water Country USA won't reopen in Phase 3

Posted at 9:16 PM, Jun 23, 2020

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Water Country USA will not reopen in Phase 3.

In Phase 3, in which Gov. Ralph Northam said Virginia will enter on Wednesday, July 1, amusement parks would finally be allowed to reopen - but with a capacity limit of 1,000 people.

Busch Gardens' president spoke in front of the James City County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, expressing frustration at the restrictions and their ripple effect on the local economy.

“Based on this guidance and our need for several weeks to turn things back on, we're looking at a closure well into July and maybe later, which will be devastating to our business and the local economy,” said Kevin Lembke, the President of Busch Gardens Williamsburg. “Water Country USA is at risk of not opening at all this season, which will impact millions of dollars of taxes and related revenue for York County.”

Lembke also says he was frustrated at large amusement parks being categorized with entertainment venues such as bowling alleys, which have completely different business models. He said he was confident that the parks could open safely with the protocols they had developed.

All SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. parks, including Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Water Country USA, closed on March 16 due to concerns over the pandemic. In late March, the company announced it would furlough 90% of its employees.

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