Four months after it was announced to be permanently closing, the Indiana Beach amusement park is ready to welcome back guests for its 95th year of operation.
The former owner of the Monticello, Indiana park, Apex Parks Group, had announced the closure in February. After a brief flirtation with the owners of Fun Spot America, the park was purchased by Chicago businessman Gene Staples in April.
With its usual seasonal opening delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the park added new paint, roofs and ride improvements — though additional rides will have to wait until 2021.
“We didn’t purchase this to make a fortune. We purchased this to save a park and reinvest in a park,” Staples said at a Friday VIP event at Indiana Beach, according to the Journal & Courier.
When it reopens to the general public on Saturday, the park will be limited to 50 percent of its normal capacity and online reservations will be required for entry. Physical distancing will be encouraged, but face masks will only be recommended, not mandated.
Those capacity restrictions are expected to be lifted by July 4 when Indiana moves to its next stage of its reopening plan. Indiana reported 510 new, confirmed cases of COVID-19 along with nine additional deaths on Friday. 2,403 people have died of the disease during the pandemic
No reopening date to announce for Six Flags Great America
Across the state line in Illinois, the Land of Lincoln’s biggest theme park does not have a reopening date.
Like the rest of the Six Flags chain, Six Flags Great America in Gurnee has a reservation system ready to go to control attendance upon reopening. However, amusement parks are among the businesses that are set to remain closed under Phase Four of Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan, which started Friday.
“We have shared our comprehensive reopening safety plan with the State of Illinois and are still working closely with them to determine an opening date for Six Flags Great America, Hurricane Harbor Chicago and Hurricane Harbor Rockford,” Great America spokesperson Caitlin Kepple told Theme Park Tribune Friday.
Unlike Indiana, Illinois has a statewide requirement for people to wear face masks in public, and has more stringent standards for its reopening phases compared to its eastern neighbor. While Phase Four under the Illinois plan will limit retail facilities to 50 percent of capacity and indoor dining to 25 percent, Indiana is set to lift all capacity restrictions on stores and restaurants — and theme parks — on July 4.