Tourists have fun at the Ocean Park in Hong Kong on June 13, 2020, as the iconic theme park resumed operations after temporarily closure for more than four months due to the coronavirus epidemic. (WU XIAOCHU / XINHUA)
HONG KONG – The city's iconic theme park Ocean Park resumed operations on Saturday after remaining temporarily closed for more than four months due to the COVID-19 epidemic.
To ensure the health and safety of visitors, employees and animals, the maximum instantaneous in-park capacity will be reduced to 9,000 people, 25 percent of the usual level, in the first two weeks following the reopening.
A series of anti-epidemic measures will be implemented. All visitors are required to go through Infra-red thermo-imaging machines for a body temperature check before entering the park. They are also required to present their reservation QR code and registered tickets for admission to prevent overcrowding.
During the first several weeks following the reopening, the park will operate six days a week except Tuesdays. Some of the thrill rides facilities in the park will remain closed.
The Giant Panda Adventure will also be closed as the female giant panda living there succeeded in mating naturally in April and has shown signs of pregnancy.
Tourists queue up to enter the Ocean Park in Hong Kong, south China, as it resumed operation on June 13, 2020. (WU XIAOCHU / XINHUA)
The park said reservation places for the first 14 days of the reopening filled up within four days since the reservation system launch earlier this week.
Reservations for June 27 to July 24 will be open on the morning of June 16.
Based on the operational situation, the park will gradually increase its park-wide capacity to 50 percent of normal volume, or 18,000 people, starting from the third week following the reopening.
"This will enable us to welcome more visitors to the park and provide them with entertainment, educational experiences and conservation advocacy, especially during the summer holiday season, when families are planning staycations in Hong Kong due to the epidemic and their subsequent outbound travel cancellations," said Timothy Ng, executive director for operations and entertainment of Ocean Park.
The 43-year-old home-grown theme park announced in early May that it would cease operation as early as in June if it failed to receive a relief fund.
This June 13, 2020 photo shows cable cars in the Ocean Park in Hong Kong. (WU XIAOCHU / XINHUA)
Visitors pose for a photograph at the Ocean Park in Hong Kong as it resumed operation on June 13, 2020 (WU XIAOCHU / XINHUA)
An urgent bailout of over HK$5.4 billion (around US$696 million) was then proposed by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government and got approved by the HKSAR Legislative Council to keep the park afloat.
The bailout will be used to support the theme park to operate for another 12 months, to repay the commercial loans of the Ocean Park corporation, and to settle the costs for completing a development project of the park.
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