DENVER — For the first time in nearly 18 months, Elitch Gardens Theme and Water Park will open to the general public on Saturday.
"The last time we had guests was for Frightfest of 2019," said Jolie DuBois, the communications manager at the park.
Now, the Tower of Doom and all the other rides will be run with strict safety protocols, in addition to having a reduced capacity of 43% or about 7,000 people.
"Yeah, we've been working on this plan for over a year now," DuBois said.
She said the park has a plan for mandatory masks for employees and guests. Riders will be asked to use hand sanitizer before boarding. All the lines and eating areas will require social distancing.
"Every other queue line is empty and then you will see the yellow markers indicating where your family should stand," DuBois said.
With vaccinations well underway across Colorado, DuBois said she believes this is the right time to offer the general public a pandemic release.
"You get to scream and have a blast and just be outdoors and having a good time again is something that we've all been looking forward to," DuBois said.
Jayden Martinez used to come to the amusement park every weekend years ago. Now, he's a marketing intern for Elitch Gardens. Thursday was his first day on the job.
"It's very odd because I came here as a kid," he said. "Just growing up in Colorado my whole life, it is a little weird to see Elitch's closed cause every time you go downtown, you see the Tower of Doom being run," Martinez said.
Martinez said he can't wait for his second day on the job.
"Just to have that to feel normal again, you know, I think this is very important to people," he said. "Things have been so grim for so long. Now that everything is opening up, there's a little bit of positivity in our future."
DuBois said Elitch Gardens normally hires around 1,500 seasonal employees to work around the amusement park.
But, she said the late changes have put them behind in the hiring process and currently around 900 positions need to be filled.
SUGGESTED VIDEOS: Colorado Guide