Australian theme parks to remain open as coronavirus closures mount

Major Australian theme parks including Movie World, Sea World and Wet’n’Wild say they intend to remain open, despite the government saying gatherings of more than 500 people should not occur in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Following a meeting with state premiers on Friday, the prime minister, Scott Morrison, announced mass gatherings of more than 500 people should be cancelled in a bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

The announcement has thrown sporting codes into chaos, spun the arts industry into disarray and led to the cancellation of major events such as the Royal Easter Show and the Melbourne Grand Prix.

Coronavirus: Australia’s performing arts industry ‘could be brought to the brink’

But despite that, Australia’s famous cluster of theme parks on the Gold Coast say they intend to keep operating.

In a statement on Saturday, Village Roadshow, the owner of major parks Movie World, Sea World and Wet’n’Wild, said that after discussions with the Queensland government it believed “the nature of our business does not apply to this advisory”.

The company said it would put in place “additional stringent hygiene and safety measures” including “an increased number of hygiene hand-washing stations,” “updated signage” about hand-washing techniques and on-site nurses to address the spread of the virus, but would not close.

“At Village Roadshow Theme Parks, the safety and wellbeing of our guests and team members is our utmost priority,” the company said in a statement.

“The Council of Australian Government’s advice today regarding public gatherings was directed at static-seated events of more than 500 people for a duration of over two hours.

“Based on our discussions with the state government, the nature of our business does not apply to this advisory.”

That’s despite other major theme parks including Disneyland and Universal Studios in the US announcing their closure.

Disney announced on Friday that it would shut down its California theme parks until the end of March over concerns about the coronavirus outbreak, while Florida’s Disney World would close to guests from Sunday.

Comcast’s Universal Studios theme park in southern California also said it would close from Saturday and expected to reopen 28 March.

The Queensland Electoral Commission will also insist that voters go to the polls for local government elections in the state on 28 March.

“The forthcoming Queensland elections are essential public events required to ensure the continuity of democratic representation and public administration across the state,” the Queensland electoral commissioner, Pat Vidgen, said.

Coronavirus contact: Ivanka Trump works from home after meeting Peter Dutton

“It is extremely unlikely that more than 500 people would ever be in a polling booth at any one time, and electors generally only spend a short period of time in a booth.

“The ECQ will continue to monitor advice being issued by health authorities to ensure that the elections are conducted with minimal risk to the health and safety of Queenslanders.”

Home affairs minister Peter Dutton, a Queensland resident, has taken the state’s coronavirus figure to 35. Queensland also began recording its first cases outside the south-east on Friday, including cases in the towns of Rockhampton and Kingaroy.

Source: Read Full Article