Slide into summer while maintaining social distance

Home > Culture > Life & Style

print dictionary print

Slide into summer while maintaining social distance

Employees working at Caribbean Bay, a water park located in Yongin, Gyeonggi, demonstrate how to store masks in complimentary plastic bags on June 4 prior to the park's official opening.  [NEWS1]

Employees working at Caribbean Bay, a water park located in Yongin, Gyeonggi, demonstrate how to store masks in complimentary plastic bags on June 4 prior to the park's official opening. [NEWS1]

 
In times gone by, rising summer temperatures led to growing queues of families and friends hoping to find some relief from the heat at one of the nation's many water parks. 
 
But this chlorine-filled, sunscreen-scented ritual will take on a new life as the number of coronavirus cases shows no sign of slowing. 
 
Amid the ongoing outbreak of the highly contagious virus, water parks are opening one after another across the nation. But with lingering concerns about the pandemic, long gone are the days when the water parks were so packed with visitors that pools ended up consisting of half people, half water. 
 
How will things change? Do patrons have to wear masks in the water? Is it safe to swim with strangers?  
For those who want to beat the heat but are still undecided about taking a trip to a water park, the JoongAng Ilbo answered some of the most pressing questions to try and ease concerns.  
 
Visitors must use smartphone QR code-based entry logs. [NEWS1]

Visitors must use smartphone QR code-based entry logs. [NEWS1]

Is it safe to go in the water?   

Considering how easy it is to ingest some water when frolicking in a pool, people are concerned about whether or not they could become infected with the coronavirus by drinking contaminated water. But a majority of experts say that there is a slim chance of people getting infected by ingesting such water because it is disinfected with chlorine, which kills bacteria and viruses.   
In addition, according to the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the coronavirus is unlikely to be spread by water.  
  
Caribbean Bay employees place stickers on the ground to ensure those lining up for rides maintain social distancing measures. The water park used to have a daily limit of 20,000 visitors but has drastically dropped that threshold to just 1,200. [NEWS1]

Caribbean Bay employees place stickers on the ground to ensure those lining up for rides maintain social distancing measures. The water park used to have a daily limit of 20,000 visitors but has drastically dropped that threshold to just 1,200. [NEWS1]

What about social distancing? 
Maintaining a distance of at least two meters (6.5 feet) is considered the No.1 rule to protect yourself from the virus and slow its spread. But does that same rule apply to water parks?   
Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University, said that while the water itself poses no threat, the people splashing next to you do.    
She told the New York Times that the "long line to go down a water slide or hanging out in a pool like a pool party" are higher risk environments.  
Local water parks are going to great lengths to take preventive measures against the coronavirus.  
For instance, Caribbean Bay, located in Yongin, Gyeonggi, which used to see between 15,000 and 17,000 visitors per day with its daily limit at 20,000, has drastically reduced this threshold to just 1,200. 
  
The attractions will also run with fewer riders. Mega Storm, one of Caribbean Bay’s most popular rides, used to accommodate six people, but the massive water slide, on which visitors descend while seated in a large rubber tube, will only allow two or three people at a time.   
 
Lotte Water Park’s flowing water pool called Tiki River has the capacity for 730 people, but now only 30 people can enter at a time.  
The water park, which is located in Gimhae, South Gyeongsang Province, also started lending sunbeds and cabanas for free to encourage people to spread out rather than flock to rest areas and kiosks. 
 
Water parks such as Ocean World, located in Hongcheon, Gangwon Province and Shinhwa Water Park on Jeju Island are also joining in with their own diverse measures such as leaving lockers vacant to ensure social distancing is being observed and disinfecting commonly used items twice daily.     
 
How do you keep your mask dry?  
According to the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters, it is not mandatory to wear a mask in the water.  
The agency recently updated guidelines on the wearing of face masks and recommended “to wear masks when people use multi-use indoor facilities such as a theater or noraebang (singing room) or when they can’t stay two meters away from others in the open air.”    
But masks are a must when using locker rooms, restaurants, rest areas and toilets inside water parks. 
Some water parks are handing out complimentary plastic bags to patrons so they can safely store their masks and keep them dry when they are not wearing them. 
 
Are there still long lines for rides?   
Hours-long waits for popular water park attractions were the norm but now, according to multiple parks, the plummeting number of visitors means these lines are no more. 
“We put stickers on the ground so that people can stay, at least, one or two meters apart, but the stickers are of no use. No more waiting. You can get on rides instantly,” said a water park official who wished to remain anonymous. 
According to parks across the nation, the number of average daily visitors has fallen to less than 500.
 
An employee of Lotte Water Park sanitizes a tube for water slides prior to its operation. [LOTTE WATER PARK]

An employee of Lotte Water Park sanitizes a tube for water slides prior to its operation. [LOTTE WATER PARK]

  
 
This massive decrease in patrons means it comes as no surprise that most water parks are partially operating their attractions.  
  
Caribbean Bay, for example, is operating the 355-meter-long Mega Storm slide, while other attractions such as Tower Raft and Tower Boomerang Go are closed.  
Ocean World is operating water slides such as Monster Blaster and Cairo Racing but its family pool is closed.  
Lotte Water Park is operating its Giant Wave pool but its Rapid River remains closed. 
It is advised to check the operation schedules in advance as admissions are priced the same as last year.  
 
Necessities for a day at the water park  
While some water parks provide free plastic bags, not all do, so it's best to bring your own.   
 
Shampoo, combs, lotions and cotton swabs are also available for all visitors using locker rooms, but it is recommended to use your own for your safety.  
 
BY BAEK JONG-HYUN   [kjdculture@joongang.co.kr]
 
 
 
[여행썰명서] 마스크 끼고 물놀이? 코로나 시대의 워터파크 이용법
 
 
전국의 주요 워터파크가 일제히 문을 열었다. 하나 ‘물 반 사람 반’이라던 예년의 풍경은 찾아보기 힘들다. 코로나19 재확산에 대한 우려가 워낙 커서다. 그렇다고 덮어놓고 방안에만 있을 수도 없는 노릇. 워터파크를 둘러싼 각종 궁금증을 문답 형식으로 정리했다.
 
물에 들어가도 괜찮을까?
물놀이하다 보면 코나 입으로 물을 들이켜는 실수를 자주 하게 된다. “바이러스에 감염된 침방울이 물속에 떠다니지 않을까?” 하는 우려가 생길 수밖에 없다. 그러나 물은 죄가 없다는 게 중론이다. 워터파크나 수영장 물에 있는 염소(Cl) 성분의 소독 효과 덕분이다. 국제보건기구(WHO)와 미국 질병통제예방센터(CDC)에 따르면 코로나19 바이러스는 워터파크의 물에 의해 전파될 가능성이 현저히 낮다.  
 
물속에서도 두 팔 간격?
관건은 거리두기와 방역이다. 사실 물이 아니라, 사람이 문제다. 미국 컬럼비아대 공공보건대학원 바이러스학자 안젤라 라스무센은 뉴욕타임스에서 “물속보다 라커룸처럼 사람들로 붐비는 장소가 더 감염 위험이 높다”고 강조했다.
 
워터파크 대부분이 거리두기와 방역에 총력을 기울이고 있다. 경기도 용인의 캐리비안 베이는 하루 1200명만 입장을 허락하고 있다. 원래 정원이 2만 명이니 17분의 1에 해당한다. 6명이 함께 타던 슬라이드 ‘메가스톰’을 지금은 2~3명이 거리를 두고 앉도록 조치하고 있다. 경남 김해 롯데워터파크의 실내 유수풀 ‘티키 리버’는 정원이 730명인데, 현재는 30명만 들인다. 실내 휴게실이나 매점에 사람이 몰리지 않도록 야외 선베드와 카바나도 무료로 빌려주고 있다. 강원도 홍천 오션월드, 제주 신화워터파크 등 워터파크 대부분이 2m 이상 간격을 두고 보관함을 지정하고 있고, 하루 두 차례씩 공용물품을 소독한다.  
 
옷은 벗어도 되고, 마스크는 벗으면 안 되고?
워터파크 내 마스크 착용을 두고 잡음이 많다. 워터파크의 특성상 마스크를 건조된 상태로 유지하는 게 쉽지 않아서다. 캐리비안 베이와 롯데워터파크 등이 마스크를 담을 수 있는 지퍼백을 무료로 나눠주고 있지만, 현실적인 어려움이 따를 수밖에 없다. 중앙재난안전대책본부가 지난 3일 마스크 관련 지침을 내렸다. “실내 다중이용시설이나, 2m 거리 유지가 안 되는 야외의 경우에 마스크를 착용해달라.” 정리하자면, 물속에서까지 마스크를 할 필요는 없다. 타인과 접촉할 가능성이 높은 실내의 장소, 즉 라커룸‧식당‧휴게실‧화장실 등에서 마스크를 착용하면 된다. 참고로 워터파크 내 마스크 착용이 강제사항은 아니다. 방역 수칙을 지키려는 개인의 노력이 무엇보다 필요하다.  
 
코로나19 시대의 워터파크 준비물은?
지퍼백을 제공하지 않는 워터파크도 있으므로, 마스크를 담을 방수팩 정도는 챙겨야 한다. 대여 물품을 사용하는 게 꺼림칙하다면 수건과 수영복 따위의 물놀이용품도 미리 챙겨가는 게 낫다. 샤워실에서 돌려쓰는 샴푸·빗‧로션‧면봉 등의 물품은 따로 준비해가는 게 여러모로 안전하다.  
 
요즘도 한 시간씩 줄 설까?
“슬라이드 대기 선마다 1~2m 간격으로 거리두기 표시를 해놨는데, 큰 의미는 없어요. 1시간씩 줄 서서 타던 것도, 지금은 사람이 없어서 대기 없이 바로 바로 탑니다.”  
A워터파크 관계자의 말이다. 현재 대부분의 워터파크 하루 평균 방문객이 500명이 채 안 된단다. 평소 대비 50분의 1 수준에도 못 미친다.  
 
워터파크 대부분이 반쪽 영업 중이다. 시설 전체가 아니라, 주력 시설 위주로 가동 중이다. 감염에 대한 우려도 있지만, 수지타산도 고려하지 않을 수 없다. 캐리비안 베이의 경우 355m 길이의 인기 슬라이드 메가스톰이 열려 있다. 반면 타워래프트‧타워부메랑고 같은 어트랙션은 멈춰 있다. 오션월드는 ‘몬스터블라스터’ ‘카이로 레이싱’ 같은 워터 슬라이드는 가동하지만, 패밀리풀은 닫은 상태다. 롯데워터파크는 유수풀 ‘래피드 리버’를 당분간 운영하지 않는다. 반면 초대형 파도풀 ‘자이언트웨이브’는 열려 있다. 워터파크마다 가동하는 시설이 다른 만큼 미리 확인하고 가는 게 좋겠다. 입장료는 지난해 같은 기간과 같다.  
 
백종현 기자 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

More in Life & Style

For the A/W season, vest is best

Audio device shop shows how cool things used to be

French-Japanese designer Kenzo Takada dies at 81

A clean space is a clean mind, especially amid a pandemic

Over the moon

Log in to Twitter or Facebook account to connect
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
help-image Social comment?
lock icon

To write comments, please log in to one of the accounts.

Standards Board Policy (0/250자)

What’s Popular Now