More Bay Area theme parks reopen for 1st time since pandemic began

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (KGO) -- Several amusement parks in the Bay Area reopened Saturday after being closed for more than a year due to the pandemic.

California's Great America in Santa Clara welcomed the general public back for the first time since their New Year's Eve party on December 31, 2019.

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"We've been waiting for this for quite some time," said Barb Grantger, the VP and General Manager of the park.

She recently stepped into the role, just as California announced theme parks could reopen as early as April 1. However, it took some time before they could let people back inside.

"Once they say you are ready to go, certain things that have to happen, like ride inspections," said Grantger, as well as hiring some 2,000 people to staff the park.

"We do see it as part of the economic recovery of California. Tourism is starting to come back," she said. "Themeparks will be vital for that recovery."

RELATED: Six Flags reopens roller coasters to general public

In Concord, Six Flags Hurricane Harbor water park reopened Saturday morning as well for season pass holders.

"Just as we have done successfully at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, we are looking forward to providing a safe and fun outdoor environment for Northern California families to spend time together," said Hurricane Harbor Park Director Paul Kimura.

Masks will be required in some parts of the park, but will not be needed on rides or in pools.

The general public will be able to reserve tickets beginning Memorial Day weekend.

Gilroy Gardens also invited customers back on Saturday. The park was closed for the entire 2020 season.

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