SAN ANTONIO — Friday marks the second stage of reopening for the State of Texas with an attempt to get the economy moving again. The state, Bexar County and the City of San Antonio stress that people should continue to practice proper social distancing and the wearing of masks to keep the number of coronavirus cases from spiking.
Under the reopening rules, waterparks and zoos can open with 25% capacity.The same goes for mall food courts. Employees should also be screened for the novel coronavirus before entering their place of work.
To implement social distancing in waterparks, the state recommends placing dividers while people wait to ride any attractions. And frequent disinfecting of regularly touched surfaces like tables, doorknobs, and restrooms should take place.
Stumpy's Hatchet House is one business that has been closed for the past few months. Lisa Marie, owner of the indoor Alamo City attraction, said she couldn't wait to get back to work but is also taking safety precautions seriously.
“We are BYOB and you can bring in food also, but we have the tables separated," she said. "We put up to 10 people in each pit but, as you can see, our pets are 12-feet-by-16-feet, and those two targets are separated by six feet. So that just worked out perfectly."
Stumpy's will also be disinfecting after each session, staff will be wearing masks and they are requiring each person customer to wear a mask as well. However, if visitors provide a medical reason as to why they can't wear a mask, the business says they'll work out a resolution.
Morgan's Wonderland has been closed since March 14 in response to Mayor Ron Nirenberg's declaration of a public health emergency, but earlier this week, the popular Alamo City attraction said it would not reopen in 2020. That includes Morgan's Inspiration Island splash park.
Even though other parks may be opening back up, Morgan's Wonderland said "the safety and wellbeing of guests and employees are of paramount importance," adding the decision to remain closed was heart-wrenching.
“When you just kind of continue to do things a certain way, you get into a rhythm, which is positive, but it also doesn't allow you to back up and rethink about how you do things and how you can do things better," said Morgan's Wonderland CEO Gordon Hartman. "So we are going to take that opportunity during this period to see how do we do things, how do we reopen so we do them better."
The Morgan's Wonderland Sports complex that's nearing completion is expected to be used sometime this year for limited purposes, with details to be announced soon. Meanwhile, the construction of Morgan's Wonderland Camp continues and is still planned to open in 2021.
The San Antonio Zoo opened its doors to traditional foot traffic for the first time in months Friday, having relied on a popular new drive-thru option this month to keep money coming in to support its animals. Some changes you’ll notice are small areas closed off, including some small attractions. Restaurants will be open at 50% capacity, as per state guidelines, and there are now social distancing markers on the ground in the shape of paw prints to make it fun for visitors.
“The biggest difference that the guests will probably see and feel when they visit the zoo right now is that they have to make a reservation to come," CEO Tim Morrow said. "We are trying to spread our arrival process so we don't have big crowds at the front gate at one time.”
This weekend is for members only. Everyone else can plan their visits starting on Monday. As for their drive-thru zoo, that will be going away for now, but could reappear in the future after a popular debut.
Beyond Friday, next on the list to reopen on Sunday are recreational sports for adults without spectators and daily/overnight youth camps. Youth sports programs can also get back into the swing of things, so long as they comply with recommended state safety protocols, and professional outdoor sports events can have limited spectators in attendance for most Texas counties, as approved on a league-by-league basis by state health leaders.