Knoebels Amusement Resort has yet to reach 50 percent capacity this year, most patrons are following mask-wearing rules and many of them are thankful.

Brianna Hinze, of Lehighton, who was there with her husband Kendall, son Holden, 1, and daughter Selah, 3, complimented Knoebels on its efforts, including changing from its honor system masking policy to a more strict policy.

"They learned really quickly that, unfortunately, people are kind of doing their own thing as far as mask adherence," Hinze said. "I like to see them really enforcing it and making it feel like we're safe to be here today, we're safe to bring our kids out for some safe fun."

Tim Frankenfield and his wife's best friend, Kathryn Solderitch, went on a ticket run for their respective family group. They said they come to the park at least once a year. Both were happy to see the safety rules in place.

"We're camping close by and came here for the day," Frankenfield said.

About the safety precautions, Eric McCabe, of Girardville, said "everything's good here."

McCabe was there with his daughter, Jasmine McCabe, 8, who was looking forward to riding Roto Jets and roller coasters.

"It's her first year on them, the big ones," Eric McCabe said. "I'm excited for her."

Greg and Carrie Millhollen and their sons, Matthew, 5, and Michael, 7, were making a return visit from Corning, N.Y.

Carrie Millhollen said the park had been open for about 30 minutes and they had already ridden four roller coasters.

She said she supports the safety regulations, like wearing a mask. "If this is what it takes to get back to the amusement park for these guys, we do it." 

Wes Hiles, of Summit Hill, said he wasn't happy about wearing a mask, especially in the July heat, but was realistic about it.

"Yeah, I'm not big on masks, but in order to do things, you gotta wear it," he said.

Stacey Ososkie, park public relations director, said most patrons are at least in Hiles' camp.

"Masks are required for all guests who are over the age of two unless you are dining," Ososkie said. "And, really, our guests have been doing a phenomenal job with that and we are so grateful.

"It will help us continue to be able to provide this safe environment for our guests."

Knoebels has in place several new safety measures, including distance markers placed in ride queues, 3,800 square feet of plexiglass installed at food stands and gift shops to protect workers and guests and hand sanitization stations.

"We have over 150 hand sanitization stations all throughout the park thanks to our partnership with Geisinger," Ososkie said. We're just really enjoying the atmosphere of being able to preserve summer for families."

Ososkie praised Knoebels' team for cleaning, sanitizing, disinfecting and making sure guests are wearing masks on rides, except water rides.

"We would never want someone to have to deal with complications from the virus due to a visit here so we are doing absolutely everything we can," she said. "Our team is doing an awesome job with it and we’ve been very happy with our guests' willingness to do what they can to make sure that the park is available for other guests to enjoy."

Hinze said she and her husband are concerned as parents, but felt safe at the park. She said her family is following the rules and none of them are symptomatic. They were visiting Knoebels instead of taking a trip to Delaware this week.

"It’s a minor inconvenience compared to what other people are up against," she said. "We’re trying to do our best to be as safe as possible and, hopefully, our safe choices leave the park open for other families this summer."

Ososkie said the park's The Alamo and The Nickle Plate Bar and Grill restaurants fall under the governor's latest rule change limiting indoor dining capacity to 25 percent, but that it hasn't affected either very much.

"(Nickle Plate) has a wonderful outdoor seating area, so we've definitely had guests taking advantage of that," she said. "In our Alamo restaurant, we've been operating already at close to 25 percent capacity because we had the tables spaced apart enough distance as well."

Much of the park doesn't fall under the governor's requirement that no more than 250 people congregate together outside in any area, Ososkie said. The exceptions are the Bandshell and picnic pavilions, where seating options were removed to keep the areas at the proper capacity.

"Generally, at an amusement park, people are moving around," Ososkie said. "People are moving through queue lines that have social distancing markers, they are eating at a location with their family then moving on.

"Even in areas like the rides themselves, the rides that you cannot naturally social distance in we are spacing guests out."

The Crystal Pool is operating at 50 percent capacity, she said. Masks are required in all common areas except when in the water in the pool, kid play area or water slides. 

Only about 40 rides were open on Thursday and about a dozen of the closed rides were due to a lack of staffing, Ososkie said.

"We plan on being open daily from noon to 8 p.m. through Labor Day and then September and October weekends as well," Ososkie said. "We definitely could use some additional team members to help carry us through the rest of the season."

Interested applicants can call 800-487-4386 or apply on the company's website, knoebels.com.

Ososkie said guests should visit knoebels.com/ride before visiting. The page is updated daily to indicate which rides are open and which are closed.

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