Kennywood, Sandcastle postpone reopenings after health department’s order

ALLEGHENY COUNTY, Pa. — Kennywood and Sandcastle have postponed both of their scheduled reopenings following Thursday’s order from the Allegheny County Health Department.

Both amusement parks were scheduled to reopen for season pass holders and “Family and Friends Day” on July 6, but because that falls within the county’s weeklong order of no gatherings with more than 25 people, officials said they will not reopen as planned.

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Parkgoers applauded officials’ decision to postpone the reopening date because they said the alternative would put profit ahead of public health.

“I think they’re doing the responsible thing. They’re looking at what the reality of it is here in this particular area. People do not do what they’re told to do,” David Bright, of the South Side Slopes, said. “I think that the options are: do you allow a bunch of people to get sick and a bunch of older people likely to die? And I don’t think that’s worth it.”

Park officials had previously been working around the clock to make adjustments to a new landscape this summer season, which included pre-registration, mandatory masks, temperature checks, sanitizing and social distancing.

It’s unclear when Kennywood and Sandcastle will reopen for the summer. Its website still lists July 11 as the full reopening date for the general public.

“I don’t know how they’re gonna do it. I really, truly don’t. I mean, how do you keep social distancing in a park like Kennywood? It’s almost impossible,” Virgil Ricciardi, of Baldwin, said. “I hope that our medical community can get together and come up with a solution.”

Below is the full statement from the company regarding the decision:

“Our top priority at Kennywood and Sandcastle is the health and safety of our Guests and Team Members, and the community at large. While we are looking forward to the start of our Summer Season, we understand the reasoning behind the recent order and stay at home request, and will do our part by postponing our scheduled July 6 opening.

We believe strongly in the plan developed by our teams at Kennywood and Sandcastle to best protect the health and safety of all those visiting and working at our parks. We will continue to work towards opening this summer as soon as safely possible and providing the clean, safe and fun experience we have been proud to provide for the Greater Pittsburgh Area since 1898.

The way we will operate this summer is significantly different from what we are all used to as we adapt to the new landscape created by COVID-19. While we are committed to enhanced standards in an effort to keep you as healthy and safe as possible, there remains an inherent and elevated risk of exposure to COVID-19 in any public place and any place where people are present. Please, read this page fully to ensure the best experience possible as you plan your visit and join us.”