MOUNT PLEASANT S.C. – Attractions across the Lowcountry are getting a jump start in business as they reopen with restrictions on Friday. Some have decided to phase in reopening to keep people safe over Memorial Day weekend.
The South Carolina Aquarium welcomed members Friday at only 15 percent capacity to test out best practices.
“Starting from a very cautious perspective,” CEO Kevin Mills said. “Today, with our members, who know us so well, we will be able to observe the behaviors and see what works, and what does work as folks navigate the aquarium.”
The CEO says the aquarium gets the large majority of its funding from visitors, and will reopen to the public tomorrow.
He also said he expects the aquarium to lose around four million dollars this year due to the pandemic’s closure.
“About 80% of our revenue comes from the folks who walked through the door, so it’s great to see people start to come back,” Mills said. “It’s a long slow recovery. We know it’s going to take a while for us to get where we need to be.”
Member Beth Michi said she was cautious to come out, but happy to see staff and visitors taking precautions.
“In fact, our plan today was to come, and if it was too crowded to just leave if we felt unsafe,” Michi said. “So far so good. It looks like there was social distancing, there were lines so we could stay apart and things like that. A lot of people are wearing masks which is a good thing.”
In Mount Pleasant, the Charleston Fun Park reopened outside spaces only for mini golf, go-karts and ax throwing.
“Our goal here is for people to have fun and be safe, and there’s no middle ground,” Co-owner Michael Sherman said.
The owners said they are asking all guests to wash their hands before getting in go-karts, and wait for clubs and karts to be sanitized between each use.
“They can’t reuse the golf balls or the clubs until you sanitize it. It will be taken out of play. And same thing with the ax throwing,” Co-owner Matthew Erck said.
He says they will stay at 50 percent capacity to adhere to the governor’s orders and he is confident in the new safety measures going into the holiday weekend.
“We don’t really know what to expect,” Erck said. “We cater to locals and tourists, we don’t know if the tourists have shown up or not. But regardless, we’re excited to get Mount Pleasant, Charleston folks out here to come out and be with their families and have a little fun after two months closed indoors.”
More attractions that can now reopen include:
- Historic buildings and sites
- Water parks
- Amusement park rides
- Go-Kart tracks
- Bingo facilities
- Miniature golf facilities
- Indoor child play areas
- Laser tag
- Escape rooms
- Bumper cars
- Climbing walls
- Batting cages
- Pool halls
- Ice skating rinks
- Roller skating rinks
- Outdoor and indoor paintball parks
- Ropes courses
- Skate parks
- Pony rides
- Ferris wheels
- Slingshots/reverse bungee rides/swing rides
The governor announced the openings on Wednesday and issued guidelines to these businesses to reopen safely.