If all goes well, it appears that the Kentucky Splash Waterpark will open for business this summer, but expect the park to look quite a bit different than what it normally does with one-third or one-half of the usual number of guests being allowed to enter.
“We are still moving to get ready for a July 1 opening,” Williamsburg Mayor Roddy Harrison said Tuesday afternoon. “It is going to look a lot different. The whole thing is going to be different.”
Harrison said that he was in contact with the governor’s office last week, and the city has submitted a proposal to Frankfort seeking approval to open the park at a 50 percent occupancy rate rather than the proposed 33 percent occupancy rate that the governor’s office has laid out for pools and waterparks.
The all-time record for the most guests at the waterpark in one day is 4,000 people, which Harrison described as “very scary,” so he instead based the maximum occupancy rate in his proposal to the governor at 3,500 people per day.
If the park is allowed to open at a 50 percent occupancy rate, it would be allowed to let in almost 1,750 people per day. If it is allowed to open at a 33 percent occupancy rate, it will be allowed to let in almost 1,200 people per day.
COVID-19 and the reduced attendance capacity will mean several noticeable changes at the park this summer.
The park normally hires about 150 people to work during the summer, many of whom are students.
Now the park is looking to hire a little over half of that many people.
The game room will be closed in order to reduce the number of people in the main office.
Guests will enter the park through one of three entrances to increase social distancing, and will be encouraged to purchase their tickets online, possibly through an app.
Tables and chairs inside the waterpark will be spaced out for social distancing purposes.
Harrison said that the city is also looking into using an app that would enable customers to order and pay for food online, and possibly having staff deliver the covered food to customers, or the app notifying them when their food is ready in order to reduce congestion at concession stands.
“We are still looking into that,” Harrison cautioned.
Staff will be required to have their temperatures checked on daily basis, and complete a nine question health survey.
The waterpark is purchasing scanners to check the temperature of guests as they enter the park.
Harrison said that because most of his staff are students, he is hoping that the local school districts will wait until late August before resuming classes so the waterpark can remain open seven days a week for at least five to six weeks. After school goes back into session, the waterpark is only open on weekends through Labor Day.
Other area pools
According to Corbin City Manager Marlon Sams, officials are preparing the city pool in anticipation of it opening at some point, but there is no tentative date about when that might be.
Even if the pool doesn’t open, the city would still need to go through many of the same processes as part of maintenance and upkeep on the pool.
Cumberland Falls State Resort Park Manager Joe Munce said Tuesday morning that at this point, he does not anticipate opening the pool this summer.