Colombia is permitting the reopening amusement parks, zoos, botanical gardens and nature reserves using biosafety protocols with a new ruling of the Ministry of Health.

On August 21, according to El Colombiano, the Ministry of Health published Resolution 1421 that permits the reopening of amusement parks, botanical gardens and nature reserves in Colombia.

So, amusement parks, zoos, botanical gardens and nature reserves that have been closed for five months due to the nationwide quarantine can gradually start to receive customers again but they must use biosafety protocols.

Hacienda Napoles: Pablo Escobar's former estate turned theme park

Hacienda Napoles: Pablo Escobar’s former estate turned theme park

According to Ángela Díaz, director Executive of the Colombian Association of Attractions and Amusement Parks (Acolap) this new resolution permits opening theme parks, family entertainment centers, science and technology centers, zoos and water parks and more.

However, don’t expect that all amusement parks, zoos, botanical gardens and nature reserves in Colombia will open immediately. The Ministry of Health only issued a resolution that establishes the protocols to reopen this sector of the economy.

Entrance to Parque Norte, Medellín's amusement park

Entrance to Parque Norte, Medellín’s amusement park

The only thing missing is that mayors of non-COVID-19 municipalities or low-impact of COVID-19 municipalities need to decide if they will reopen these places.

Reportedly Pereira and Zipaquirá are two cities in Colombia that are most advanced in the implementation of these protocols. They already have biosafety processes ready at each point of their amusement parks.

Quarantine Impact on this Sector in Colombia

According to Acolap, the association that brings together attractions and amusement parks in Colombia, the sector’s losses during the five months of quarantine exceed half a billion pesos.

Also, seventy percent of the jobs in this sector were reportedly lost. And it is estimated that about 60 arcade/entertainment centers, which operated within shopping malls in Colombia, went into total bankruptcy, preventing them from reopening.

Entrance to Parque Zoológico Santa Fe, the zoo in Medellín

Entrance to Parque Zoológico Santa Fe, the zoo in Medellín

Biosafety Protocols for Reopening Amusement Parks, Zoos and Nature Reserves

There are a number of biosafety protocols that must be used by amusement parks, zoos, botanical gardens, nature reserves and other entertainment places that open. These include:

  • There should be hand wash dispensers every 330 feet (100 meters) in common areas.
  • Use of face masks is required.
  • Upon entry, hand disinfection is required and the temperature is taken of each customer.
  • Social distancing of 6.5 feet (2 meters) between each person in common areas must be guaranteed
  • A reservation system should be available, if possible, that allows visits to be scheduled in advance.
  • Each visitor must bring a personal kit that must include a mask, 60% glycerinated alcohol, toilet paper or disinfectant towels, a bottle for hydration and bags for waste disposal.
  • During the stay, visitors will not be able to shake hands, or give kisses or hugs.
  • For group tours, these must be done in one direction only. The minimum distance between one group and another must be 13 feet (4 meters).
  • Attendees should wash their hands every three hours.
Pumas at the Medellín Zoo, photo courtesy of Zoológico Santa Fe

Pumas at the Medellín Zoo, photo courtesy of Zoológico Santa Fe

In addition, every area, path, route, game or piece of equipment must be analyzed in a matrix of low, medium or high risk. Once this risk level has been defined, operators must define the time intervals necessary to suspend service and carry out disinfection.

Water ride at Parque Norte in Medellín would need to be analyzed for risk

Water ride at Parque Norte in Medellín would need to be analyzed for risk

Also, every day there must be a disinfection protocol before and at the end of activities. In addition, managers must train workers on the virus and the protocols to follow.

Water parks can open, but there can be no access to saunas, Jacuzzis and Turkish baths.

In addition, zoos must prevent contact of people with animals and constantly disinfect feeders and drinkers. And if any animal has a respiratory condition, it must be isolated and placed under daily observation.

Rio Claro Nature Reserve, photo by Motero Colombia

Rio Claro Nature Reserve, photo by Motero Colombia

Amusement Parks, Zoos and Nature Reserves in Medellín and Nearby

On the Medellin Guru website we previously looked at attractions that could be reopened under this new ruling. But this depends on the mayors of the municipalities where they are located, the first two are located in Medellín:

  1. Parque Norte: Medellín’s Amusement Park
  2. Parque Zoológico Santa Fe: Medellín’s Zoo
  3. Hacienda Napoles Pablo Escobar’s Former Estate Turned Theme Park
  4. Rio Claro Nature Reserve: A Perfect Getaway from Medellín
  5. Piedras Blancas: An Ecological Park Near Medellín

Also, there are arcade/entertainment centers in many of the malls in Medellín that would fall under this ruling.

Computer generated image of COVID-19, photo by Felipe Esquivel Reed

Computer generated image of COVID-19, photo by Felipe Esquivel Reed

Medellin Guru’s Coronavirus Series 

Medellin Guru has a series of articles about the coronavirus pandemic and the impacts in Colombia: Also, these articles are being kept up-to-date, as this is a fast-moving topic:

Parque Ecológico Piedras Blancas in Santa Elena near Medellín

Parque Ecológico Piedras Blancas in Santa Elena near Medellín

The Bottom Line: Reopening Amusement Parks, Zoos and Nature Reserves in Colombia

Colombia’s nationwide quarantine started on March 24. So, for five months, amusement parks, zoos and nature reserves in Colombia have been closed. If these places can’t reopen, how can they survive?

The bottom line is that amusement parks, zoos, botanical gardens and nature reserves places are now permitted to start reopening in Colombia.

However, this reopening is limited to municipalities where mayors decide they will reopen these places.

In all cases, the reopening of amusement parks and other places permitted to reopen under Resolution 1421 requires biosafety measures. And these measures include the use of face masks plus keeping social distance between customers.

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