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Busch Gardens Williamsburg expects to reopen in August; no update on Kings Dominion's reopening

Busch Gardens Williamsburg expects to reopen in August; no update on Kings Dominion's reopening

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Roller coaster at Busch Gardens Williamsburg

COURTESY BUSCH GARDENS WILLIAMSBURG

Busch Gardens Williamsburg will reopen in early August with a limited capacity special event that requires advance reservations.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg plans to reopen early next month.

SeaWorld Entertainment Inc., the park’s parent company, didn’t provide details as to when the park would reopen.

“The company expects its Busch Gardens theme park in Virginia to commence a phased reopening in early August 2020,” the company said in a news release Wednesday that provided preliminary second quarter results.

A park spokeswoman didn’t provide any additional details.

The announcement did not say if the company’s Water Country USA park would reopen as well.

Kings Dominion remains closed and there are no updates at this time for a reopening at that theme park in Hanover County, a spokeswoman said late last week.

Kings Dominion and Busch Gardens Williamsburg — two of Virginia’s biggest tourist attractions and economic boosters — said in late June that they wouldn’t reopen on July 1 when Virginia moved into the third phase of the state’s plan to gradually reopen businesses amid the coronavirus.

The theme parks said then that limiting them to having 1,000 people at one time is not economically sustainable.

As of July 1, entertainment venues, including amusement parks, can open at 50% capacity, or a maximum of 1,000 people.

“The 1,000-patron limit does keep us out of business. It is not an economically sustainable model for us” to reopen, Kevin Lembke, the park’s president, said late last month.

Kings Dominion, Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Water County USA have been closed since March.

SeaWorld Entertainment has reopened eight of its parks with capacity limitations including SeaWorld Orlando, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and SeaWorld San Antonio.

The company also said Wednesday that continues to monitor guidance from federal, state and local authorities to determine when it can reopen its parks in California.

Despite the capacity limitations, attendance numbers at the SeaWorld Entertainment parks have improved since reopening, the company said. “Total park attendance at reopened parks has increased 14% on a same park basis from the week ended June 28 (the first full week these parks were open) to the most recent week ended July 26,” the company said.

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