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COVID Reopening: California's Great America Set to Welcome Back Visitors

SANTA CLARA (KPIX) -- California's Great America in the South Bay is set to reopen this weekend for the first time since the popular amusement park shut down 15 months ago.

The 112-acre park officially welcomes thrill-seekers back starting Saturday morning. KPIX got a tour of the park grounds and an overview of the changes.

"It has been a wild ride, but we are so excited to be opening tomorrow," said park general manager Barb Granter.

The park had announced its planned May 22 reopening back in February.

But Great America will have a number of COVID protocols in place. Park capacity is limited, face coverings are required in the park and tickets must be reserved online before coming, in addition to many other safety measures.

The Great America team has put in a lot of work for guests to have fun while staying safe.

"It is interesting to open after an entire year of being down, because people can be a little rusty at what they do," said Granter. "This team is absolutely amazing. They're ready to go tomorrow."

While Great America opens Saturday, its South Bay Shores waterpark won't open until June 5th. The attraction will feature its new Pacific Surge slide.

Sanitation stations have been set up throughout the park and every other seat on some rides will be empty for COVID safety.

"I mean we're all excited. I know people love to eat," said park Executive Chef
Erick Ponce. "I know people have been locked indoors for over a year. So, what is the next best thing? They want to eat."

There are lots of new food items available at Sierra Creek Lodge and other spots in the park. Visitors will notice other changes there too.

"We kind of do the things that have already been proven as far as social distancing; place markers, face masks, plexiglass," explained Food and Beverage Director Margo Powers. "And then making sure our associates know exactly what to do and what to say to keep our guests safe and happy."

Safe and happy or, as the park's executive chef says, sweet and savory

"We'll be featuring a lot of savory new funnel cakes this year," said Ponce.

Additional information on park safety protocols and how to make reservations online are available at the California's Great America website.

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