Theme parks can open again except those with water-based activities

GEORGE TOWN: A major step in restarting the tourism sector is the reopening of theme parks, except those with water-based attractions.

In Penang, this will mean that the doors to many attractions can open again based on strict standard operating procedure (SOP) such as crowd control.

State Tourism, Arts, Culture and Heritage committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin said The Top@Komtar and Escape Adventureplay could open with the exception of water-based attractions such as Escape Waterplay.

Aside from such theme parks, Yeoh said people would also be able to resume art, music and dance classes and go to cybercafes, which are also allowed to reopen based on the SOP.

Yeoh said the SOP, set by the National Security Council (NSC) and local authorities, included social distancing, wearing of masks, using hand sanitisers and crowd control.

Operators must also clean and sanitise their premises before reopening.

Yeoh said he raised this matter during the recent state exco meeting and wrote to the NSC for confirmation.

But he said public swimming pools, including those in condominiums, had to remain closed for now.

Tan Sri Richard Koh, chief executive officer of Only World Group Holdings Bhd, which manages The Top@Komtar, expected the sector to recover quickly with most tourism attractions in Penang reopening.

“We expect domestic tourism to catch up again soon. Locals are confident that up here, the Covid-19 pandemic has been handled well, so it’s time for people to visit Penang again and have fun.

“But we remain vigilant and will maintain all SOP. Our theme park is also limiting the maximum number of visitors we get by half so that every visitor can practise social distancing,” he said.

Escape theme park chief executive officer Sim Choo Kheng said he would limit the maximum number of visitors to the AdventurePlay section to 1,000 visitors a day.

“The park is 9ha wide, so we should be able to keep people apart. We will scan everyone’s temperature before letting them in,” he said.

But Sim said he was “baffled and puzzled” that the government was hesitant to allow water-based activities, such as what was offered in Escape’s Waterplay, to reopen.

“The chlorination of water in our swimming pools kills all micro-organisms. We maintain an internationally accredited level of disinfection.

“There is no danger of catching any kind of pathogen in well-maintained swimming pools, so we ask that the government reconsider this decision,” he said of the park in Teluk Bahang.

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Penang , tourism , reopen , SOP , Yeoh Soon Hin


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