Enchanted Forest’s plan to reopen for private, single-family tours has been rejected before it could begin to materialize.
The storybook-themed amusement park south of Salem, Oregon, had come up with the idea as owners search for a way to bring in revenue during the coronavirus pandemic that has kept the attraction closed since late March.
Two weeks ago, Susan Vaslev, co-manager of Enchanted Forest, told The Oregonian/OregonLive that the park was angling to reopen to individual groups of up to 10 people from the same household. Each group would essentially have the park to itself for a few hours, and employees would clean the rides and touched surfaces behind them.
On Tuesday, Vaslev said that plan had been rejected by state officials.
“Enchanted Forest’s plan to do private family social distancing tours, even one in the park at a time, was denied by the governor’s office,” Vaslev said. “At this point, we are not allowed to be open even to one family at a time.”
Some Oregon businesses started reopening May 15, as Oregon Gov. Kate Brown allows counties to begin Phase 1 of the state’s reopening plan. However, gatherings of more than 25 people are still prohibited and several kinds of businesses – including amusement parks – must remain closed.
That’s left Enchanted Forest in a tight financial situation, leaving its owners to question whether the amusement park will stay in business long enough to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2021. Vaslev said the park is doing everything it can to reopen, but safety remains its top priority.
“We under no circumstances want to give the impression that we’re trying to reopen in an irresponsible manner,” Vaslev said. “Regardless of how you look at it, I don’t think it’s going to be business as usual at all this season.”