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Arizona health director says water parks lack crowd control of hotel pools

(Getty Images Photo/Ethan Miller)

PHOENIX – There is a chance for water parks in Arizona to possibly reopen earlier if they can convince health officials they’ll impose stringent coronavirus safety precautions.

“There is an opportunity for them to open earlier,” Arizona Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Friday.

“It would depend on what they presented to the department, but there is an opportunity for them to reopen earlier.”

Controlling capacity was a main consideration.

“The pools at hotel are being restricted to – or should be – to only those guests. You’re going to be able to track who’s there and not allow outside guests in.”

A water park is different, she pointed out.

“When you’re looking at something like Big Surf or Golfland Sunsplash, it’s the general public coming in. You’re mixing in a lot of people, you have the opportunity for higher capacities to show up.

“We are, unfortunately, in the business of breaking up large groups of adults,” Christ said.

Golfland Sunsplash in Mesa filed a lawsuit Monday against Gov. Doug Ducey over its closure.

The park has been shut down since the governor’s executive order was issued June 29.

The health department requires water parks and tubing operators to stay closed if their community spread level is substantial.

But, “They can actually request an application to open during the substantial [community spread] phase. What they do is they tell us what they’re going to implement above and beyond those requirements to keep it safe.

Christ said potential options for water parks seeking to reopen could include promises to limit capacity, perhaps to 25%; test every employee before they return and perform “intense cleaning protocols.”

A water park can open at 50% capacity if community spread is minimal or moderate, according to the standards.

For all articles, information and updates on the coronavirus from KTAR News, visit

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