An uncertain summer for Water Wizz
Summer has officially begun, but the future of one of Wareham’s most prominent summer destinations is still highly uncertain.
Water Wizz, the water park on Cranberry Highway, typically brings in about 100,000 guests each year even though its operating season is limited to July and August. As of June 25, the water park has still not been granted approval to reopen in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
And if the park doesn’t open this year, it might have to close permanently.
“I don’t know if I will open up next year,” said Park Manager Patricia Kells.
She explained that if the park doesn’t open this summer, she would still have to pay taxes, insurance, and other costs, meaning she might not have enough money to make it to the next season.
She added that postponing this year's season to the early fall wouldn’t be practical, as a large portion of her staff are high school and college students who won’t be available once school is back in session.
Recognizing the park’s situation, Selectman Alan Slavin reached out to state officials in hopes of finding a way to safely allow Water Wizz to open this summer.
During Tuesday night’s Board of Selectmen meeting, Slavin said that “I don’t know any business that can lose a whole year’s worth of revenue, and come back the next year and be solid.”
He added that Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito said that she is aware of the park’s situation, and would be looking into the matter.
On June 25, Kells said that she had not yet heard from state officials, but that she was very appreciative of Slavin’s efforts.
She also expressed her frustration with the seeming hypocrisy of the state guidelines, since the current “Phase 2 Step 2” has allowed other public pools to reopen, but not her water park.
She added that the larger pools in her facility are big enough to allow for social distancing. The smaller ones at the bottom of water slides would never have more than two people in them at a time.
Chlorinated water also acts as a disinfectant, and can kill the coronavirus.
While large crowds may be of concern, Kells said that “when people come to a water park, they usually come as a family,” meaning that guests would largely be interacting with people who already live with them.
If the park is allowed to open this summer, Kells said that “I do want to make sure that people are safe.”
There would be several precautions in place, as the park has already developed a “control plan” to mitigate the spread of the virus.
According to the plan, the park would only open on a limited basis. All employees would wear face masks. Guests would also be required to wear masks, except for when they are in the water.
Employees and guests would have their temperatures taken before being allowed inside the park.
Pools would be monitored to limit the number of people at any given time, and time limits may be imposed if needed.
The staircases to all the water slides would be clearly marked to allow for six feet of distance between patrons.
Picnic tables and chairs would also be spaced out throughout the park. Kells added that outside food would not be allowed, as she does not want to risk people bringing in any possible contaminants. Instead, picnics would be limited to food grilled at the park and prepackaged ice cream.
There would be hand sanitizing stations throughout the park, and “high touch areas” like counters, doorknobs, and restrooms would be cleaned regularly.