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Epic Waters, Hawaiian Falls to Reopen Waterparks Friday

Epic Waters Indoor Waterpark will open on Friday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Hawaiian Falls to open Friday 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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Following Gov. Greg Abbott's announcement Tuesday to amend Phase II of the "Open Texas" plan, waterparks can open Friday with 25% the normal capacity.

Epic Waters Indoor Waterpark in Grand Prairie will open on Friday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Hawaiian Falls, which operates five waterparks in Texas, will open parks in Mansfield, Roanoke and Waco on Friday and locations in The Colony and Garland on June 4 and June 5 respectively.

Officials with Epic Waters said they have been preparing to reopen using the recommended social distancing guidelines, increased sanitation procedures, and reduced contact with guests. Epic Waters has created a video and updated its website with a Frequently Asked Questions page to educate guests and address the new procedures.

The arcade will remain closed, but all the water attractions are fair game.

It’s all about safety, it’s our number one concern at Epic Waters," said General Manager Michael Hays. "We’re really, really working hard to make sure that the water park opens up safe and fun for everyone.”

He said they'll operate at 25% capacity, meaning only allowing 650 guests compared to the usual 2,800. They strongly encourage people to reserve tickets online, and if they hit capacity for the day, there will be a waiting list.

The water park will ask guests a series of questions before allowing them inside including, 'Are you feeling ill or showing any symptoms of COVID-19?' Have you been in contact with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 14 days?'

They're also recommending people bring their own personal protective equipment like masks, but don't suggest people wear them in the water. They also suggest that people wear footwear while walking around.

In the meantime, workers are doing what they can to help patrons keep their distance.

"We’re spacing out tables, we’re disinfecting and enhancing our cleaning programs and we’re bringing in a whole new process of how we’re screening our guest and our employees," said Brian Syzdloski, director of operations for Epic Waters.

The water park has been closed for 10 weeks and Hays said 90% of their workforce has come back.

For the last two weeks, 240 employees have been training, given the new procedures.

"We are extremely excited, I am extremely excited, I know the entire team is as well, we’ve been closed for about 10 weeks and we’re all eager to get back to work," Syzdloski said.

He said workers will be constantly wiping down touchable surfaces such as tables, kiosks, railings, and lockers for example.

“We’ve almost doubled our cleaning team in size to ensure we have enough hands on deck going around and cleaning everything in the park. Anything that's touchable, they're cleaning it," Syzdloski, said.

Hays said they have placed signs around the facility to remind people to maintain six feet apart and to wash their hands.

People can still order food at the 'Hungry Wave Cafe' but instead of waiting in line, they'll be served at their table.

Hawaiian Falls said on their website they have also taken steps to protect guests and staff including screening employees, requiring facemasks for employees, modifying slide loading and other lines to allow for more social distancing between guests, adding sanitation stations throughout the park and increasing the cleaning of common areas.

Guests are encouraged to purchase tickets online and to pay for purchases at the park with cards and not cash to reduce points of contact at the water parks.

Six Flags said earlier this week that they are rolling out a number of new safety procedures at all parks, including requiring guests to wear masks. There will be obvious exceptions to that policy for some attractions or for those with a medical exception. Though the park is allowed to open Friday, Six Flags has not yet said when Hurricane Harbor will reopen.

NBC 5's Sophia Beausoleil contributed to this report.

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