Hurricane Harbor Chicago Announces July 20 Opening
Waterpark Will Have Extensive New Safety Measures in Place
Hurricane Harbor Chicago today announced plans to reopen the waterpark on July 20, 2020. In accordance with Governor Pritzker’s reopening guidelines, the park will operate at reduced attendance levels and offer an exclusive preview from July 20 – 26. During this preview phase, the waterpark will only be open to Members and Season Pass Holders. Hurricane Harbor Chicago is implementing extensive new safety measures and hygiene protocols, including several new advanced technology systems to protect guests and employees. These procedures will be adjusted on an as needed basis to ensure compliance with state recommendations.
“Visiting Hurricane Harbor Chicago is a much loved way to beat the summer heat for so many in the Midwest, and we look forward to welcoming families back to our waterpark. The safety of our guests and team members remains our number one priority, and the new safety guidelines we have put in place are designed to create a safe environment for everyone,” said Six Flags Great America & Hurricane Harbor Chicago and Hurricane Harbor Rockford Park President Hank Salemi. “We greatly appreciate the support of Gurnee Mayor Kristina Kovarik and Governor Pritzker throughout this reopening process, and continue to work with them to finalize our plan to safely reopen the theme park as well.”
The park will employ an online reservation system to manage attendance, schedule guests for entry by day, and to stagger arrival times to minimize proximity exposure. Other new technologies include:
- State-of-the-art thermal imaging for temperature checks;
- Advanced security screening technology for touchless bag checks; and
- Expanded mobile food ordering.
The park’s reopening plan, which the company developed in consultation with epidemiologists, meets or exceeds federal, state, and local guidelines for sanitization, hygiene, and social distancing protocols.
“We have developed a comprehensive opening safety plan that includes protocols designed by theme park and waterpark industry experts, along with best practices from top destination parks from around the world, which will allow guests to experience our parks in the safest way possible. This ’new normal’ will be different in some ways, but we believe these additional measures are appropriate in the current environment,” said Six Flags President and CEO Mike Spanos.
Reopening plans include:
Health Screenings for Guests and Team Members
- Contactless IR thermal imaging will be used to screen temperatures of guests and employees prior to entry;
- Individuals will be required to acknowledge and abide by the company’s health policies, which includes not entering the park if guests have recently been exposed to or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19;
- Following CDC guidelines, all guests over the age of two and all team members will be required to wear face masks covering the nose and mouth throughout their visit/work day:
- Masks will be available at the front gate for any guest without one; and
- Masks will not be required on waterslides, water attractions, or in pools.
Strictly Enforced Social Distancing
- Easy to identify distance markers will be added in all park entry, ride, restroom, retail locations, and dining queue lines;
- A limited number of complimentary lifejackets will be available upon request; however, families are encouraged to provide their own coast-guard approved lifejackets for children under 42 inches, or those who are not strong swimmers. All Hurricane Harbor lifejackets will be sanitized after every guest use;
- Dining areas will be adjusted to allow ample space between seated parties;
- Guests will be allowed to ride on a tube with family/group members, but will not be allowed to share a tube with those not in their immediate party;
- Advanced security screenings will enable touchless bag checks;
- Capacity at indoor venues and on some attractions, including the Wave Pool and Lazy River, will be reduced to meet social distancing requirements; and
- Guests viewing outdoor entertainment will be separated by at least six feet.
Extensive Sanitization and Disinfecting Protocols
- Trained and dedicated cleaning teams have been put in place;
- Rides, restraints, and handrails will be cleaned throughout the day;
- Team members will frequently sanitize and disinfect high-touch points, including the following: public seating, tabletops,counters, life jackets, doors, trash cans, deck chairs, tubes and rafts.
- Restroom staff will be stationed to disinfect each stall and sink area on a frequent basis;
- Multiple hand-washing and alcohol-based hand-sanitizer stations will be located throughout the park; and
- All team member work areas will be regularly sanitized and disinfected.
Sanitized Food Preparation and Service
- Modified menus and implementation of mobile food ordering will help facilitate touchless transactions;
- Self-service buffets and salad bars will be reconfigured to eliminate guest contact with food;
- Condiments, self-serve cutlery, and napkins will be provided to guests with their meals as required; and
- Beverages will be served by attendants, and guests will receive any drink bottle refills in a paper cup each time they refill.
Commercial-Grade Cleaning Equipment and Supplies
- All employees will be issued Team Member Action Packs which will include: a safety face mask, safety glasses, and disposable gloves;
- Low pressure backpack sprayers will be utilized for disinfecting large areas;
- Abundant supplies of sanitizers and disinfectants will be available;
- Microfiber cloths will be used to sanitize surfaces; and
- Queue line supplies, fencing, and tents will be in place to promote safe social distancing.
Multi-Layered Guest and Team Member Communication
- Frontline team members will go through extensive COVID-19 training;
- Safety messaging and reminders on Six Flags’ website, newsletters, in-park announcements, and recorded phone messages will occur frequently;
- Distance markers and physical distance indicators will be in place; and
- Informational safety signage is posted throughout the park.
Park Reservations System to Manage Attendance
Six Flags will establish attendance caps that will be well below the park’s theoretical capacity in order to allow for proper social distancing. All Members, Season Pass holders and all guests with a single-day or group ticket will need to make a reservation at www.sixflags.com/reserve.
The process will take 5-7 minutes, and guests will complete the following steps:
- Enter their online order number, ticket number or Membership/Season Pass number;
- Select the day and the approximate time they want to visit;
- Acknowledge their understanding of the company’s health policy;
- Order pre-paid parking, if they do not already have a parking pass; and
- Watch a brief video describing new social distancing and sanitization procedures.
Guests may begin tomorrow, Friday, July 10, 2020, making reservations as follows:
- All un-paused Diamond & Diamond Elite Members | Friday, July 10 at 9:00 am.;
- All un-paused Members | Friday, July 10 at 12:00 p.m.;
- All un-paused Members & Pass Holders (including Thrill Pass Holders) | Friday, July 10 at 2:00 p.m.; and
- All un-paused Members, Pass Holders (including Thrill Pass Holders) & Daily Ticket Holders (including Group Ticket Holders) | Friday, July 10 at 5:00 p.m.
Guests will be contacted electronically (either by email, text or both) the day before their scheduled visit to confirm their intent to visit. All Members and Season Pass Holders will receive booking priority over single-day and group ticket buyers.
The Six Flags brand is synonymous with family fun and thrills for all ages. These significant new changes are designed to improve the overall park experience while keeping guests and employees safe.
Six Flags Season Passes and Memberships are currently on sale. Members can enjoy priority park entry and tremendous discounts of up to 50% on nearly all food and merchandise all season long. Gold Plus, Platinum, Diamond, and Diamond Elite levels are available featuring all the perks of a Season Pass plus other benefits including admission to all Six Flags branded theme and waterparks, preferred parking, and points that can be redeemed for free food, merchandise, and special experiences. Visit the Membership Sales Center or go online to sixflags.com for more information and to sign up today.