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Six Flags Will Reopen Its First Park On June 5, Requiring Masks And Health Checks

Six Flags is preparing to reopen its Frontier City theme park in Oklahoma City on June 5, requiring visitors and staff to wear face masks.
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Six Flags is preparing to reopen its Frontier City theme park in Oklahoma City on June 5, requiring visitors and staff to wear face masks.

People visiting Six Flags theme parks and water parks this summer will be required to wear face masks at all times, the company said, as it prepares to reopen its first park to visitors since the coronavirus forced mass closures. Six Flags said it also will use thermal imaging to screen temperatures of guests and employees before they can enter.

Frontier City in Oklahoma City will reopen on June 5 — the first Six Flags park to do so. But before visiting, customers will need to make reservations and bring masks; anyone who doesn't have a face covering will need to buy one at the gate, the company said.

"All guests over the age of [2] and all team members will be required to wear face masks covering the nose and mouth throughout their visit/work day," the company announced Tuesday. Special accommodations can be made for people with "disabilities, health concerns, religious restrictions, or other circumstances" that would prevent them from wearing masks, Six Flags said.

Capacity will also be restricted, and people will be required to maintain physical distance as they stand in line for rides, food and other attractions. The safety protocols will apply across all of Six Flags' 26 locations in the U.S., Mexico and Canada.

"Frontier City, like all Six Flags parks, is an outdoor attraction that poses a significantly lower risk of exposure than indoor venues," Six Flags President and CEO Mike Spanos said in a statementabout the plans. He added, "Because our parks cover dozens or even hundreds of acres, we can easily manage guest throughput to achieve proper social distancing."

Every U.S. state is in the process of relaxing at least some of the restrictions put in place in the weeks after the COVID-19 outbreak was declared a global pandemic. Many Americans and public officials alike are weighing how to curb the coronavirus while also restarting normal activities and planning for the summer.

Oklahoma began allowing a broad range of businesses to reopen on May 1, from restaurant dining rooms to movie theaters and gyms. The state further relaxed restrictions when it entered the second phase of its reopening plan May 15. It's poised to begin the third phase on Monday.

Oklahoma was reporting more than 6,100 COVID-19 cases and 318 deaths as of Tuesday morning, according to the State Department of Health. More than 2,800 cases – roughly 46% of the current total — have been reported in the past 30 days. The state said more than 4,800 people have recovered from the respiratory disease.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.

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