Whether waiting to get soaked on Rattlesnake Rapids, rolled on the Rock-O-Plane or whipped up, down and all around on the Colossus, Lagoon’s eager thrill-seekers now have one thing in common while standing in line: They must wear masks.
Previously, guests had to wear a mask only upon entering the Farmington amusement park and were encouraged but not required to keep them on once inside.
Now, only small children are allowed to forgo masks while in lines at the park. Spokesman Adam Leishman said Lagoon — which already requires its ride attendants to don masks — updated its policy to better protect its guests as the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The health department would like everyone to wear masks; the governor would like everyone to wear masks. We’re not making this up just for fun,” Leishman said. “This has been asked of us by our governmental leaders. We are trying to do our part to follow those guidelines.”
In the past week, more than 2,200 Utahns have been newly diagnosed with the coronavirus, boosting the total tally of those infected past 14,600 since the pandemic struck the state.
The Davis County Health Department previously had asked Lagoon to encourage guests to wear masks “whether they like it or not,” according to communications manager Trevor Warner.
After a June 2 visit, the department told the park to enforce consistent social distancing, meaning guests should stay 6 feet apart. The department also noticed that mask wearing was “limited” in the park.
The department has continued to communicate with Lagoon and other businesses about how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and said it appreciates the park’s dedication to safety.
“It’s a proactive move, kind of in a positive direction, to show that they’re serious about the safety of their clients and their staff,” said Dave Spence, the department’s deputy director.
Lagoon employees will continue to sell masks to guests who do not have one. Additionally, the park requires guests to buy tickets beforehand. Visitors can make reservations and purchase tickets — up to a week in advance — when they go online.
Lagoon also staggers entry times for social distancing purposes. Rides are only partially occupied, and lines have markers to help guests with spacing.
Additionally, large groups are prohibited; single-rider lines have been eliminated; and parents, not attendants, must help children get on or off rides. Hand-sanitizer stations have been installed throughout the park, and guests are asked to use sanitizer as they get in line for a ride and when they exit.
Lagoon employees use a commercial-grade spray disinfectant to clean rides and other areas of the park, Leishman explained. The spaces are cleaned at various times throughout the day, and the frequency of spraying increases in high-traffic areas. Rides may be closed for periods of time to be cleaned.
The latest change on face coverings may surprise some guests.
West Haven resident Hailey Speters visited the park June 3. She said she appreciated that park employees did not force guests to wear masks.
“It would be really hard to wear a mask in Lagoon as you’re running around to different rides; that just seems like a lot,” she said. “If they told me I had to wear a mask inside of the park the whole time, I probably wouldn’t go.”
Leishman said he hopes guests will be willing to adapt to wearing masks in lines — they can be removed while on rides — but acknowledged that it is an inconvenience.
“All Lagoon employees are required to wear masks at any time they’re in the park. This could be a sign of support for them," he said. "This is a minor inconvenience, but it’s a measure we’re implementing in the park.”
About 6,000 guests can occupy the park’s 200 acres each day, which is about 15% of its capacity. Due to the lack of guests, Leishman said, visitors can social distance in the park, and the new mask requirement will help keep everybody safe.
“We’re an entertainment destination," he said. "We’re grateful to be open. We’re grateful for our guests, and we really just want to do our part to do what’s best for them.”
— Tribune reporter Sean P. Means contributed to this story.