Drayton Manor has become the first major UK theme park to announce that it will not open due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Tamworth park said it was “deeply saddened” to announce its temporary closure “until further notice”.
A statement read: “Following recent advice from the government surrounding coronavirus, we are deeply saddened to announce that Drayton Manor Park will temporarily close until further notice.
“We will continue to closely monitor the situation over the next few weeks and respond, with speed, to any changes.
“This has not been an easy decision to make and we appreciate all the support from guests, employees and suppliers that are also feeling the impact of this worldwide situation.”
Within the past hour, Fantasy Island in Lincolnshire has also announced that will not open as planned this Saturday.
It is widely expected that other theme parks will announce similar closures in due course.
‘Protect park’s future’
Drayton Manor Managing Director, William Bryan said: “This isn’t a decision we have taken lightly, especially as 2020 is our 70th anniversary year, but one we had to make in light of COVID-19 and the government’s social distancing policies.
“As a family business, the health and wellbeing of our guests and staff remain a priority. We need to not only allow staff and their families to self-isolate if necessary, but also protect the future of the park financially.
“We are yet to make a decision regarding the hotel but will provide an update as and when a decision is made.
“These are difficult times for everyone. We thank all of our customers for their support over the past 70 years and look forward to welcoming people back to Drayton Manor Park later in 2020.”
Merlin Entertainments has said that it will open its four UK theme parks as originally scheduled this month, with procedures that allow for the social distancing advised by the government.
Flamingo Land has delayed the start of its main season start by one week, to 4 April.