Five Islands, Harry's water parks partly open for Easter

FILE PHOTO: Harripersad Ragoonanan, owner of Harry's Water Park, Tabaquite, speaks to Newsday at his facility in January. - Marvin Hamilton
FILE PHOTO: Harripersad Ragoonanan, owner of Harry's Water Park, Tabaquite, speaks to Newsday at his facility in January. - Marvin Hamilton

Although water parks and rivers have remained closed under the Public Health Ordinance, some establishments like Five Islands Water and Amusement Park in Chaguaramas and Harry’s Water Park in Rio Claro have partially opened for business for the Easter vacation.

Some sporting events have resumed, but the parks had to restructure their operations to allow activities that don't involve water but include other activities, to generate income.

In January they pleaded with the government to allow them to open in keeping with the covid19 health protocols but, to date, minimal concessions have been made to allow the use of the water facilities.

An advertisement on Five Islands' Facebook page said it would be open from March 29-April 15 and will cater only to non-water-related activities.

Director of marketing and sales at Five Islands Louanna Borde told Newsday in WhatsApp messages on Thursday that its operations for the Easter vacation were based on the opening up of sporting activities.

“We are allowing private groups of ten persons to book a few of our sporting activities for private sessions like go-karts, surfing, paintball. This system is by advance appointment only.

“All covid19 safety protocols are in place: temperature testing, data collection, physical distancing, numerous handwashing and sanitiser stations, signage, rigorous cleaning and sanitising regime, mask-wearing mandatory, and much more.”

Asked if there had been any progress in discussions with the authorities, Borde said “We are not really interested in doing an interview at this time.”

Harry’s Water Park owner Harrypersad Ragoonanan said he too has had to restructure, but the smaller activities and the rental of cabins could not compensate for the losses from the waterpark itself.

He told Newsday by phone on Thursday that use of the conference room for weddings, birthday parties and other events had also been minimal.

“The use of these facilities are done by bookings to ensure that we are within the protocols, but people are not coming, because the activities are limited and the waterslides are really the main attraction.

“I don’t think Harry’s will make it to the end of the year. Just recently I had to lay off 20 people again. Although the water park still has to be maintained – from income that I do not have.”

Ragoonanan said water park owners have tried reaching out to Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh and Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram to discuss a way forward for their businesses, but were yet to receive a response.


"Five Islands, Harry’s water parks partly open for Easter"

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