Coronavirus: Merlin theme parks planning to open

The Swarm, Thorpe Park

UK theme parks operated by Merlin Entertainments are planning to open as normal this month.

Alton Towers, Thorpe Park and Chessington World of Adventures plan to begin their seasons under revised guest procedures.

Legoland Windsor began its season this week, where it is understood guest numbers were significantly down on normal levels.

Merlin’s parks all carry statements saying: “We want to stay open to provide a happy and fun experience for our guests.”

“But we will always act in accordance with the government and health authority recommendations and may be required to make further changes in the near future.”

‘Social distancing’

Unspecified procedures will be in place to maintain the British government’s recommended ‘social distancing’ of two metres between people, including in queue lines.

Alton Towers is scheduled to open on Saturday, while Thorpe Park’s opening date remains set at 27 March.

Chessington World of Adventures plans to open on Thursday.

Guests with pre-booked tickets for dates before 1 May will be able to visit at a later date during the parks’ seasons, should they choose not to attend on their booked date.

The independent Blackpool Pleasure Beach, which began weekend opening last month, has not announced any changes to its operating calendar.