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News: Enchanted Forest delays reopening after ‘threats and comments’ about mask requirements


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By Jamie Hale | The Oregonian/OregonLive

On Monday afternoon, Enchanted Forest announced on social media that it would finally be reopening to the public, after the coronavirus pandemic, financial woes and an ice storm all devastated the beloved Oregon amusement park over the last year.

But as word of their reopening plans got out, some fans responded with threats and angry comments, and owners walked back the reopening plan Tuesday morning.

Park co-manager Susan Vaslev said most people seemed to be upset about the requirement to wear face masks inside the park (a state requirement) and Enchanted Forest’s decision to allow people to go without masks provided they show a vaccination card upon entry.

“We weighed it all out and decided that we cannot open safely,” Vaslev said. “Until we reach the point where we all agree how this transition is going to take place between mask, unmasked, vaccinated, unvaccinated and everybody can be together safely and commingle – that has to happen before we can reopen.”

That might be a tall order, judging by the feedback they received.

Vaslev said the park is not releasing specifics about the worst threats that came via email and phone, but their original announcement on Facebook received nearly 1,000 comments, many of which were angry or abusive.

Businesses are legally allowed to ask customers for proof of vaccination if that is a requirement to enter their premises. Some people are falsely claiming that doing so violates the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (better known as HIPAA), but that law applies only to certain entities like hospitals, doctors’ offices and others in the health care industry.

It’s one of many false claims circulating about COVID-19 and the vaccines that have so far proven to be highly effective against the virus.

That misinformation often goes hand-in-hand with skepticism of the coronavirus in general, and is spread among those who are vocally resistant to local mandates requiring the use of protective face masks in public places.

Oregon officials have not yet released formal guidance for businesses even after lifting the mask mandate for fully vaccinated Oregonians on Friday, with a few exceptions including hospitals, long-term care facilities and prisons. Gov. Kate Brown said that guidance would be announced in the coming days. State epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger said businesses would likely be required to inspect COVID-19 vaccination cards before allowing customers to go maskless.

Vaslev said the Enchanted Forest was simply trying to follow those guidelines in its long-awaited plan to reopen to the public. She said the park never intended to quiz every visitor about their vaccination status, they just wanted to give vaccinated people the opportunity to go without masks provided they show proof.

The backlash against that plan – from many people who claim to have recently donated to the park’s GoFundMe campaign to stay afloat – has been “extremely upsetting,” Vaslev said.

Enchanted Forest has not yet announced intentions to reconsider its reopening plan. Anyone who already purchased tickets for this weekend will receive a refund, the park announced Tuesday.

“We are desperate to open our park, we’re at our breaking point,” Vaslev said. “How to do that and how to move through this is probably the biggest challenge we’ve faced so far.”

 

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Pretty sad that a park gave into the court of public opinion.  Open the park however you want as long as it's within state guidelines.  I guarantee a majority of the Facebook commenters wouldn't go wither way.  People just like to argue on the internet.

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What a bunch of a-holes. Honestly. Wear a mask, save yourself and probably somebody else's life.

And oh yeah. Get a vaccine shot. It'll be worth it.

But if you're still going to argue and scream about "Freedom, Rights of the Individual" blah blah blah.

Fine, get sick. And don't forget to blame The Government, because "you didn't know", blah blah....

Morons.

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