Tourists visit Mississippi attractions as amusement parks reopen and COVID-19 rules ease

Tourists visit Mississippi attractions as amusement parks reopen and COVID-19 rules ease

BILOXI, Miss. — With water parks and amusement parks reopen in Mississippi, visitors at one Gulf Coast attraction said they believed they were safe from coronavirus infection.

Margaritaville, which includes an elaborate indoor arcade and rooftop pool, began greeting visitors in Biloxi on Thursday. Other water parks and amusement parks statewide were allowed to reopen Monday, as long as they operated at half capacity of less and met additional requirements for sanitizing and social distancing.

“It’s been a great experience so far. We are just glad to be out and have a place welcome us,” Amber Yochim, a visitor from Louisiana, told WLOX-TV. “All the staff are wearing masks. There’s been social distancing in line at the slide and the staff has been great at serving us and getting our food and drinks.”

The Mississippi State Department of Health on Monday reported 206 new confirmed cases and 10 new deaths. That brings the state’s total cases to nearly 13,500 and total reported deaths to 635. The state reports that 1,706 cases and 322 deaths have occurred in nursing homes, assisted living centers and other long-term care facilities.

A Jackson firefighter was among those who tested positive. He and two fellow firefighters were sent home on quarantine.

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In Biloxi, Margaritaville general manager Joe Farruggio said indoor attractions were rearranged. Employees are wearing gloves and masks.

“We’ve actually redid the whole floor and we spaced it out quite a bit,” Farruggio said. “That’s the first thing we did. We have social distancing signs probably every 6 feet — they should be 6 feet, just letting them know.”

Louisiana resident Kristoffer Arrington said he and his friends wanted to go somewhere they knew the pandemic would be taken seriously.

People are lined up moments before the 8 a.m. opening Thursday, May 21, 2020 at Golden Nugget Casino in Biloxi, Miss. on the Mississippi Coast.

“Louisiana itself, especially New Orleans, is really a hotbed for corona, so we really wanted to get away. I know it’s a lot of people here still, but just out of that state just because I know how bad it is there,” Arrington said.

Up on the pool deck, even pool floats were sanitized each time someone finished with them.

Some places held reduced ceremonies to honor the war dead on Memorial Day.

In Tupelo, dozens gathered at Veterans Park, where chairs were spread out and masks distributed, while others watched online

“Life has to go on,” Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal. “We have to continue to have events such as the Memorial Day ceremony that are a huge part of who we are as a nation, so we tried our best to balance the need for safety precautions with the desire to go forth with the annual Memorial Day ceremony.”


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