When we can return to having fun in an amusement park ? While the different sectors of activity still closed, begin to be fixed on their fate with a timetable for the reopening at least provisional, the grumbling mounts on the side of the leisure parks. Even after having been forgotten by the government in the plan of déconfinement, the Elysée and Matignon, send contradictory messages.
Supported by a petition of local elected officials, the Puy du Fou, situated in the Vendée, took the head of the protest. "The restaurants in the green zone will be able to reopen the June 2, zoos also, the Mont-Saint-Michel with its narrow streets is once again open to the public, but all these spaces are not organized by professionals of the flow as we, point park director, Nicolas de Villiers. One does not ask a favour, but a schedule and consistency. "Emmanuel Macron would eventually have to decide in favour of a reopening as early as 2 June, in green area, according to the park in the vendée, that announcement back on June 11. An ad that has yet to be confirmed officially by the authorities.
The President of the Republic taken in the Council of Defence for the reopening of tourist sites and theme parks in the green zone, for the 2 June next year – a date already selected for the opening of the restaurants. (1/5) pic.twitter.com/ndy8lF5xJp— Puy du Fou (@PuyduFou) May 21, 2020
Wearing a mask, distancing and hand washing
Save the summer, it is the concern of the managers of amusement parks, especially after having missed the beginning of the season that could be very favorable. "For 30 years, I have never seen a holiday for April too lenient !" says Patrice Fleurent, patron of Fraispertuis City. To his amusement park of the vosges mountains on the old West theme, created by his father in 1966, the summer is crucial : 60 % of the 280,000 annual visitors come in July or August. Like the other parks, he was arrested in mid-march at the time of the confinement, while he was preparing to reopen for a new season. Its 16 full-time employees are still working, but the nearly 500 seasonal workers are on the sidelines.
To convince the authorities to let them re-open, the parks have taken the lead and established sanitary protocols, supported by their union Snelac. "Each of the sites must adapt the protocol according to its specificities, of its size, the type of attractions" stresses François Fassier, chief of the division of leisure parks of the Compagnie des Alpes, which operates the Parc Astérix, Futuroscope theme park or Walibi Rhone-Alps.
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At Parc Astérix, for example, the mask-wearing should be mandatory in the attractions, maybe in the shops. "You ask more questions," explains François Fassier. We remain of the places of entertainment, it is necessary to find a balance in the stress. "The employees, themselves, will all be equipped with permanently. The hydroalcoholic gel will be offered in the park, particularly at the entrance of the attractions. Some activities, such as shows, where the distancing physical will not be able to be held, will not be offered this year.
Fewer visitors in the parks
At the Puy du Fou, we have established a plan of attack that starts from the parking lot, where vehicles will not be parked side-by-side. "Inside the site, the traffic will be organized to prevent the flow mix, and avoid the crowds, especially at the entrance or exit of a show,' explains Nicolas de Villiers. In the stands of the shows, the capacity will be divided by three, and disinfection will be conducted after each passage. "There will also be 250 points of distribution of hydroalcoholic gel, a reminder of the gestures barriers and protective equipment for our teams. "
to be able To ensure separation physical, the parks, especially having to cut into their capacity in order to avoid being crowded. For the Puy du Fou, only 18 000 people can be accommodated each day, instead of 36 000 in normal times. At Parc Astérix, a ticket dated will be put in place. "Tomorrow, if they want to come, it will be necessary to book," says its director-general, Nicolas Kremer.
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abroad, the parks are beginning to reopen
Shanghai Disneyland, once again open to visitors since may 11, markings on the ground in the queues help to comply with the detachment physics. © HECTOR RETAMAL / AFP
closer to France, it is the German amusement park Europa-Park, which is preparing to resume service on may 29. Wearing a mask will not be compulsory during the entire visit, only in the areas covered, the queues and attractions. It will also be necessary to book the visit. But the water park Rulantica will remain closed for the time being, the health measures are more complex to implement in this type of park.
One knows how to better manage a flow in an amusement park than a city hall on a sidewalk.
"It is certain that we can not go down a waterslide with a mask", " notes Michel Moenner, director of the division of aquatic parks Aqualand (eight parks in France). "But we know that the chlorinated water combat the virus, and there will be a distancing in the queues with a marking on the ground. "If he hopes to be able to reopen their parks in July, others are less optimistic. In Isère, Walibi Rhone-Alpes has already announced that its water area does not open this season. "Open us to be more expensive than to stay closed," explains François Fassier, who advanced the few days of operation envisaged and the limited capacity to put in place.
Heavy financial losses
most of The leisure parks feel they are ready to reopen from the month of June. "You know better manage a flow in an amusement park than a city hall on a sidewalk, ensures François Fassier. If we push to the reopening, it is already having in mind the safety and security of our visitors and our employees. We are not irresponsible ! "" I'm not going to take risk to our visitors, we take it all very seriously, agrees Nicolas de Villiers. A plan was proposed to the government, they are asked to say what is right or not. We apply their instructions, but we ask them to trust us. "
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For this sector, which has already lost tens of millions of euros from the containment, the opening is vital. All that we need to invest heavily and regularly to be return visitors, and that all have not the means of the giant Disney. "Yet this winter, we invested € 900,000 in a carousel, with local jobs at the key,' recalls Patrice Fleurent, patron of Fraispertuis City. I had to sign 10 million euros in 2021-2022, but all of our investment programs are blocked. And is that in the future the banks are not more cautious to lend us such amount of money ? "
"With the closure and reduced capacity to the reopening, tens of millions of euros of lost revenue for the Company of the Alps," confirms François Fassier, who does not intend to reduce its investment plan in the future. "Perhaps it would be necessary to move some in time for a smooth cost. "
But the visitors will have-they only want to come back in the amusement parks this summer in spite of the fear of the virus ? "We can be an antidepressant in the face of the trauma experienced by some families," says Patrice Fleurent. An encouraging sign for the sector : the announcement of the reopening of the ticket to the Europa-Park was taken by assault. In a few hours, the first weekend was already full.