Oregon’s performance venues and tourist attractions begin to reopen

0

Amy Yerman from Vancouver, Washington was excited to return to skate at Oaks Park on April 13, 2021. Yerman says she has been skating there since she was a child and couldn’t wait to go back. Skating sessions are limited to 50 people.

Kristyna Wentz-Graff / OPB

The Oaks Amusement Park in Portland will open for the first time in a year on Saturday, the latest evidence that Oregon’s tourist attractions and public spaces are starting to move after a year of pandemic closures – and the latest test of Oregon’s attitudes. public towards the pre-COVID -19 life recovery with new safety precautions in place.

“We will be implementing social distancing requirements,” said park events director Emily MacKay. “Increased sanitation, encouraging people to wash their hands, all of those things that last year we learned to do in the basics, now we’re going to apply to the fun stuff. “

The new precautions include changes to the way people buy tickets – which will be online – and a closed children’s playground. Everyone will need to wear a mask on the rides to protect employees, who must approach to make sure the safety harnesses and lap belts are in place.

For sites like Oaks Park, directions on exactly how and when to reopen are unclear. There is no letter from the state specifically saying “OK, reopen now”. Instead, heads of state issue guidelines and organizations must decide if they can operate within the rules.

In the case of Oaks Park, which is classified as an outdoor entertainment venue in Multnomah County, current state rules allow the reopening of 15% of its capacity.

“Really, we just need to start over,” MacKay said.

The maximum capacity of the park was previously 16,000 people. Now the park is limited to 1,500 so there shouldn’t be crowds or long lines. Managers think they can operate with so few visitors because the park is a non-profit; In 1985, the family that owns it made the switch to help ensure the survival of one of the country’s oldest amusement parks.

“All of the buildings you see are original from 1905,” MacKay said. “You know your grandparents, great-grandparents, great-great-grandparents came here. They met in the ice rink. Their first date was on the Ferris wheel. You can do it too.

Oaks Park Events Director Emily MacKay said the park would be well below the capacity of 16,000 when it reopens.

Oaks Park Events Director Emily MacKay said the park would be well below the capacity of 16,000 when it reopens.

Kristian Foden-Vencil

Oregon’s tourist attractions and major landmarks attempt to answer the same questions as Oaks Park: How many people should they let in? What sanitary requirements do they need? Can they remain financially viable given the new limits and requirements?

For some places, the answers are not positive. The Portland Children’s Museum, for example, is closing its doors after nearly 75 years. The museum’s board said the pandemic and the funding model, which relies on paid admissions, made survival impossible.

It may not be the end of the venerable old institution. Jane Moisan, a lawyer from Portland, said supporters had already raised more than $ 100,000 to keep the museum and an associated charter school open.

She believes that once Oregon achieves collective immunity, the outlook will be brighter. “With the support of the community, these are obstacles that we see as surmountable,” she said.

Organizers of other venues and tourist attractions, such as the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the Pendleton Roundup, have written to the state to say they are frustrated with the lack of clarity about the reopening.

The state says both outdoor and indoor venues can operate, but only at modified capacities. And the number of people that organizations can accommodate again depends on the location. In low risk countries, the limit could be 50%. In high-risk countries, it’s more like 15%.

The venues are always reopening: Last week, the Portland Thorns became Oregon’s first professional sports team to welcome fans back.

Vicki Jacobs feels safe skating at Oaks Park on April 13, 2021 with all safety precautions in place.  Skating sessions are limited to 50 people, and social distancing and masks are mandatory.

Vicki Jacobs feels safe skating at Oaks Park on April 13, 2021 with all safety precautions in place. Skating sessions are limited to 50 people, and social distancing and masks are mandatory.

Kristyna Wentz-Graff / OPB

But how does the public react to the opening of theaters?

At the Oaks Park rink, Vicki Jacobs, 71, said this week that she wouldn’t be there if she didn’t feel safe.

“There are strict rules about wearing a mask, and I don’t hesitate to tell others, ‘Put this on your nose,'” she said. “I caught a few. But most people are aware of what we all need to do.

Jacobs has been vaccinated and feels the exercise she does on the ice outweighs the risk of skating with 50 people.

“A life is a lot to lose,” she said. “I’m not going to be the cause of someone else’s downfall either.”


Source link

Share.

About Author

Comments are closed.