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Theme parks around the world require masks now and so will Dollywood

Dollywood will have the same fun, family feel when it opens next week but you'll notice some big changes for coronavirus safety

SEVIER COUNTY, Tenn. — Dollywood opens next week and a lot people are looking forward to enjoying some family fun. 

That's the same as last season. But the coronavirus pandemic has ramped up safety measures.

In fact, Dollywood has made more than 700 operational changes.

Visitors will park then head to a tram station where a staff member will check temperatures and ask questions about COVID-19 symptoms.

If anyone in a group has a fever or symptoms then the entire group will have to leave and will receive a rain check.

Credit: WBIR
A Dollywood employee cleans a ride.

Many so-called touch points have been eliminated. For example, the turnstiles no longer have arms and restaurant doors remain ajar.

The park features hundreds of hand-sanitizing stations as well as 50 outdoor sinks complete with running water, soap, and paper towels. They even have a foot pedal operation. 

Visitors must wear masks most of the time.

Credit: WBIR
A sign instructs visitors to wear a face mask.

"We're following the CDC guidelines. It's really an adoption across all of the theme park business. So you'll notice that Disney and Universal, SeaWorld, Cedar Fair, Six Flags, all of us really are using face mask wearing as a way to stay safe," Eugene Naughton said.  He is Dollywood's Vice President of Park Operations. 

Dollywood has set up relaxation zones where people can sit at tables in the shade without masks. Face coverings are not mandated when enjoying thrill rides, water rides or eating. 

Rides will operate at 50% capacity or less. Family groups will sit together in designated rows. 

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