Will Wareham’s Water Wizz Reopen for the 2021 Season?
Massachusetts has been in Phase 4 for nearly a month. Fenway Park and TD Garden are hosting Major League Baseball, NHL hockey, and NBA basketball games at limited capacity.
Meanwhile, Water Wizz in Wareham waits, along with its 250 employees.
"Wareham is a blue-collar town, and the kids need their jobs in order to pay for their car insurance, college tuition, and even to just help out the family," said Water Wizz owner Patricia Kells.
The water park has set a soft opening date of June 19, but with nearly two million people vaccinated and 3.2 million with at least one dose, there is still no sign from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that Water Wizz will be able to reopen anytime soon. Even though Water Wizz is still awaiting the green light from Governor Charlie Baker, preparations are being made now as if the June 19 date is a reality. It takes months to get the park ready for opening day.
"We were put in the category of mass gatherings. We're not like a concert or a game at Fenway Park," Kells said. "Our capacity is only 1,800 over eight acres of land, and all of our attractions are spread out. If I had 50 percent capacity, it would look like my park is empty. At a water park, the activities are spread out across the park just by nature of the business."
Water Wizz is listed under Phase 4, Step 2, alongside Six Flags New England in Agawam. The next phase will allow amusement parks, theme parks, indoor and outdoor water parks to reopen. Even though water parks are outdoors under the sunshine, and the water is chlorinated, they have been deemed by the state as risky as bars and nightclubs, saunas, hot tubs, and street festivals.
"Where is the science to show water parks are more dangerous than public pools, casinos and other indoor venues that have been allowed to open? All other New England water parks were open last year," Kells said.
Water Wizz continues to pay property taxes, power bills, and liability insurance. It is unclear how long a business can sustain expenses like that without income.
"We're in the dark as much as you are. I pray every night that we'll be able to open," said Kells.