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Not all water parks reopen despite eased Abbott restrictions

Last Updated May 29, 2020 at 5:28 pm EDT

Ernie, not last name given, plays in the water at the just re-opened city owned Epic Waters Indoor Waterpark in Grand Prairie, Texas, Friday, May 29, 2020. Water parks in Texas were allowed to reopen today. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

AUSTIN, Texas — It may be days or weeks before some Texas water parks reopen, despite Gov. Greg Abbott’s order allowing many to reopen Friday.

Earlier this week, Abbott loosened restrictions on water parks to allow 25% occupancy of their capacity, as well as shopping mall food courts with social distancing, adult recreational sports and driver’s education programs. It was another step in his phased reopening of statewide activities after the lockdown prompted by the coronavirus pandemic.

But not all water parks reopened immediately. For example, Hawaiian Falls reopened its parks in Roanoke, Waco and Mansfield on Friday but won’t reopen its park in The Colony until Thursday and in Garland until next Friday. Big Rivers in New Caney and Typhoon Texas in Houston and Austin have reopened, but Schlitterbahn said it would not reopen its New Braunfels and Galveston until mid-June. The same was announced for NRH2O in North Richland Hills. No opening date has been announced yet for Six Flags Hurricane Harbor parks in Arlington and Houston.

Although adult recreation sports may resume Sunday, games and similar competitions must wait until June 15. Continued social distancing is urged for food courts.

The reopening comes a day after Abbott announced that he would allow outdoor professional sporting events to admit spectators starting in June, but the numbers in attendance would be strictly limited to 25% of normal venue capacity. Indoor events will still be without spectators.

The steps come a week after Abbott allowed bars, breweries and tasting rooms were allowed to reopen Friday at 25% capacity and with other social distancing measures in place. Rodeos, bingo halls and aquariums also were allowed to reopen. Restrictions on restaurants, which were allowed to reopen May 1 at 25% customer capacity, were loosened to allow 50% occupancy.

The total of confirmed cases reported by the Texas Department of State Health Services of COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus, rose by 1,230 on Friday. That was 625 fewer than Thursday, when the most new cases of the outbreak were reported. That brought the total to 59,776, with 19,312 cases now active, and 25 new COVID-19-related deaths bringing the Texas death toll for the outbreak to 1,601.

The true numbers are likely higher, however, because many people have not been tested and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

The Associated Press


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