Despite eased Abbott restrictions, some Texas waterparks remain closed


LM OTERO/Associated Press

A worker stands ready to clean at the city-owned waterpark in Grand Prairie, Texas on Friday, May 29, 2020. Water parks in Texas were allowed to reopen Friday at 25% occupancy, though some are choosing to remain closed.

Associated Press

AUSTIN It may be days or weeks before some Texas water parks reopen, despite Gov. Greg Abbott’s order allowing many to reopen Friday.

Earlier this week, Abbott loosened restrictions on water parks to allow 25% occupancy, as well as shopping mall food courts with social distancing, adult recreational sports and driver’s education programs. It was another step in his phased reopening of statewide activities after the lockdown prompted by the coronavirus pandemic.

But not all water parks reopened immediately. For example, Hawaiian Falls reopened its parks in Roanoke, Waco and Mansfield on Friday but won’t reopen its park in The Colony until Thursday and in Garland until next Friday. 

Big Rivers in New Caney and Typhoon Texas in Houston and Austin have reopened, but Schlitterbahn said it would not reopen its New Braunfels and Galveston locations until mid-June. The same was announced for NRH2O in North Richland Hills. No opening date has been announced yet for Six Flags Hurricane Harbor parks in Arlington and Houston.

Although adult recreation sports may resume Sunday, games and similar competitions must wait until June 15.

The reopening comes a day after Abbott announced he would allow outdoor professional sporting events to admit spectators starting in June, but the attendance numbers would be strictly limited to 25% of normal venue capacity. Indoor events will still be without spectators.

Abbott allowed bars, breweries and tasting rooms to reopen May 22 at 25% capacity with several further social distancing measures in place. Rodeos, bingo halls and aquariums were also allowed to reopen. Restrictions on restaurants, which were allowed to reopen May 1 at 25% customer capacity, were loosened to allow 50% occupancy.

The total of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Texas surpassed 61,000, the Texas Department of State Health Services reported Saturday. There are at least 61,006 cases and 1,626 deaths, according to the health department, an increase from 59,776 cases and 1,601 deaths reported Friday.

However, the true numbers are likely higher because many people have not been tested. Many studies suggest that infected people may not even feel sick. 

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

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