Six Flags Great America now has government approval to open its rides and attractions on April 24.
The Gurnee, Illinois park has one of several Six Flags parks that couldn’t fully reopen in 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic limiting it to a holiday lights event and drive-thru experience. While Six Flags announced an April 24 reopening date in February, it came with the caveat of “pending final approval from state and local officials.”
On March 18, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced changes to the state’s reopening guidelines. In the current Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan, amusement parks can reopen at 25 percent of their pre-pandemic maximum capacity. Once 70 percent of the state’s residents aged 65 or older receive a COVID-19 vaccine— and the state hasn’t seen a reversal in COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths over a 28-day period — capacity limits will go up to 60 percent.
This means Great America can reopen on April 24. The state’s two Hurricane Harbor water parks in Gurnee and Rockford will welcome back guests on May 29.
“Six Flags Great America is a beloved summer tradition for many, and we are excited to open our park and get our world-class collection of thrills running again,” park president Hank Salemi said in a press release. “Our team is eager to welcome back our guests in a safe environment, providing the much-needed fun we have all missed this past year.”
Under Illinois’s rules, all capacity limits at theme parks can be lifted once 50 percent of residents aged 16 and older have been vaccinated.
Like other Six Flags parks, Great America will still have safety measures aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19, including requiring face masks and enforcing physical distancing. Guests will also need to book reservations, which will be available soon, Theme Park Tribune was told by a park spokesperson.
Six Flags parks in Texas, Georgia, Mexico, Maryland, and Missouri are already open, soon to be followed by their parks in New Jersey, New York, and California. Only Six Flags New England and La Ronde in Montreal, Canada have yet to announce a return.