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Busch Gardens Williamsburg remains closed

Posted at 10:18 PM, Jul 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-24 22:18:46-04

JAMES CITY COUNTY, Va. - There is no firm reopening news to share about Busch Gardens Williamsburg, a spokesperson for the park said Friday.

The park has remained closed since the beginning of the pandemic in March. The park's calendar says it will be open on July 29, but the park spokesperson says the calendar's hours don't mean anything until a reopening date is announced.

"We continue to hear that the business community is struggling in a lot of areas from our hoteliers, some of restaurants, and other small businesses, and Busch Gardens itself, so we continue to be concerned about the closure of Busch Gardens," James City County Administrator Scott Stevens said.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg had hoped to reopen during Phase 3, but Gov. Northam's guidelines said capacity could only be at 1,000.

"Based on this guidance, and our need for several weeks to turn things back on, we're looking at a closure well into July, and maybe later, which will be devastating to our business and the local economy," said Kevin Lembke, the President of Busch Gardens Williamsburg, said in June.

Analysis from economists at Old Dominion University says the hotel industry in the Williamsburg area continues to be hit the hardest with hotel revenues down more than 70% in mid-July compared to 2019.

County leaders are worried about the long-term impact on the park's closure on county finances, but say in the short term things are okay.

"We are worried about the long term impact on that. Short term - we have planned for that," said Stevens.

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