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Water lures visitors for the 4th

Due to overwhelming amount of people, Beltzville State park closed early both Saturday and Sunday.

On the Fourth of July holiday weekend people flocked to the park in droves, resulting in the park closing its gates to customers at 10 a.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, according to reports.

People began lining up before 6 a.m. Saturday to get into Beltzville.

While outdoor activities were in demand, it wasn’t anywhere near that degree at Pocono Whitewater in Jim Thorpe, according to owner Sky Fogal.

“It wasn’t nearly as busy as normal,” Fogal said. “It was still pretty good.”

Fogal noted they are running at 75 percent capacity due to the restrictions of the green phase.

“We’re also very cognizant of the 250 person (rule), which means we have to spread the trips out a little further than we normally would just to make sure groups don’t overlap, things like that,” he said. “Some of the other restrictions and things we’re doing is we’re cleaning and sanitizing buses in between every trip.”

Fogal added that bus capacity is still low at 50 percent, and that the bus loads from the back and the driver sprays down the entire bus with a disinfectant.

“We also have a strict mask policy on property, (and) we also changed some of our (tactics) with how we deal with groups and group leaders,” he said. “We’re really trying to minimize the direct contact between employees and guests, and we’re also taking every employees’ temperature everyday, and to make sure we’re complying with state and federal guidelines and restrictions.”

Fogal noted that they have a minimum of four guests.

“That way, you’re not going to be mixed in a boat with someone else,” he said. “We decided to reinstitute that restriction now that masks are required across the state.”

Fogal said that on Friday, they were down 67 percent for the year.

“While the holiday weekend certainly more people came out, we are certainly averaging less than half capacity,” he said. “The problem is all of our costs are still the same, so while top revenue is down 67 percent, margin is going to be down even more.”

Fogal said it’s important for people to get outside and rid themselves of that cabin fever.

“We’re happy we’re able to provide that to people, whether it’s rafting, biking or paintball,” he said. “We’re properly social distanced; (and the spread of COVID-19) rarely, if ever, occurs if you are outdoors and socially distancing.”

Cars wait to get into Beltzville State Park, with a line already before 8 a.m. Saturday. COPYRIGHT LARRY NEFF/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
People walk around outside their cars as they wait to get into Beltzville State Park Saturday morning. COPYRIGHT LARRY NEFF/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS