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GHOST RIDES; Drone captures eerily-deserted Alton Towers before crowds return.

Byline: JACK EVANS News Reporter

T would usually be packed with crowds of thrill-seekers at this time of year - but Alton Towers theme park looks like a ghost town.

IDrone footage shows the Staffordshire theme park eerily empty as operators work on the rides at dizzying heights before families are allowed to return.

It offers a bird's-eye view over the park without a single visitor in sight on what would traditionally be one of its busiest weeks.

The attraction has been closed since the coronavirus outbreak, but is planning to reopen on July 4 with strict guidelines in place.

Drone cameras capture theme park engineers working on top of rides such as Oblivion while conducting safety checks as part of the preparations.

Pathways, cafes and shops sit empty in spooky footage filmed by Alton Towers' engineers Ben Allsopp and Andy Walker.

Rollercoasters such as The Smiler are deserted while carriages can be seen going around tracks on other rides but with no passengers on board.

Andy can be seen waving to the camera in the clip as he precariously works 65ft in the air on vertical drop rollercoaster Oblivion.

The theme park, which opened its gardens to visitors last weekend, is looking to be fully up and running by the start of next month, subject to Government approval.

When it does, access will be limited, with restricted capacity to reduce the number of people on rides and dining in restaurants.

Temperature checks will be conducted at the gates on both staff and guests. Anyone who has a temperature that is too high will be turned away, but will be able to rebook.

Spacing markers are being installed at queue lines and communal areas and one-way systems will be enforced inside shops and cafes. Teams on site will be issued with protective clothing including face masks and gloves to keep them and guests safe. Dozens of hand sanitiser dispensers will also be installed around the resort.

Riders will only be able to go on rollercoasters and rides within their groups, with a row of seats between each family, which could result in longer queues.

Health, safety & security director Jonathan Ellis says: "This is so we can best maintain social distancing in all areas of the resort, whilst making sure our guests can enjoy the same number of rides and attractions they would normally expect.

"We are still working through precisely how this will work, and our approach may evolve in line with Government guidance. "On a site the size of ours there is plenty of space for everyone. We know many of our guests come in household groups, and we want people to be able to enjoy family time together whilst staying apart from other groups of guests. "We have all become accustomed to waiting in line at the supermarket and navigating the one-way system around the aisles without getting too close to other shoppers, so hopefully this will not present too many surprises for guests."

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Author:JACK EVANS News Reporter
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Jun 14, 2020
Words:495
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