CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Charleston County waterparks are open for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began.
On Monday, the county's three waterparks opened with limited capacity. The Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission decided on the reopening day.
The parks include Splash Island in Mt. Pleasant, Splash Zone on James Island and Whirlin' Waters in North Charleston.
Whirlin' Waters has a normal capacity of about 4,200 people. Due to the coronavirus pandemic and to promote social distancing, park officials are limiting capacity to about 1,000 guests at a time.
Sue Conley brought her grandson to Whirlin’ Waters on opening day.
“My daughter and her husband are back to work and all of his summer camps got cancelled," Conley said."I drove up from Florida yesterday and I’m keeping him for a couple of days when I don’t work. It’s great to be out here.”
The general manager for Wannamaker County Park and Whirlin’ Waters Edmonds Brown says there are several changes in place to keep guests safe.
“We have never been closed for this long. We’ve been closed at different times because of hurricanes but never anything like this,” Brown said.
On Monday, there were no line wait times. The rain also impacted turnout.
Normally, Whirlin' Waters would have opened a month and half ago for the start of the season.
There's plexiglass installed to provide a barrier between guests and the employees at ticket booths, food areas and other sale counters.
David Friess visited the park with family.
“Today is pretty good,” Friess said. “Not very many people here, they’re missing a few things, but overall makes it fun.”
Brown says they’ve removed the tubes from the wave pool because the waves tend to cause people to bump into each other, and they want to keep people distant. Employees are cleaning restrooms more frequently and sanitizing tables and chairs which are also spaced out.
The general manager says they’ve introduced new sanitizing procedures for the tubes, and that chlorine gets the job done.
“The beautiful part about a water park is that we are full of chlorine, we have chlorine everywhere, in the pools down the slides etc.,” Brown said. “The tubes that come down those slides are getting saturated... what we’re doing is as they come down we’ll flip the tube over then put it on the deck for the customer to use.”
Brown also says they are keeping the tubes floating in the lazy river even when they aren't being used to keep them sanitized.
Joey Sherman says it’s been excellent being out at the park.
“I’m so happy that my favorite slide ever, the red slide, is working,” Sherman said.
The waterparks are open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“We’d welcome people to come out and gives us a try, and I think we’re able to accomplish what needs to happen in the middle of this COVID-19 virus.” Brown said.
For a more details on new protocols at Charleston County waterparks click here.
The Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission says the Aquatic Center in Hollywood also reopened on Monday with limited capacity.