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As amusement parks reopen, will Americans ride rollercoasters in a pandemic?
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Coronavirus safety measures won’t dampen demand for Disney parks: Expert
University of Central Florida Adjunct Professor Bill Zanetti on the challenges and opportunities Disney parks face as they reopen.
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At this time of year, Brian Witherow can usually hear the screams of riders on some of the world's fastest roller coasters from his office in the middle of Cedar Point, a 150-year-old amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio.
Mr. Witherow, the chief financial officer of the park's operator, Cedar Fair LP, says it's quiet right now in the park, which juts into the southwest corner of Lake Erie. He is at his desk struggling to manage the financial fallout of a monthslong shutdown at the park and others owned by the company across the U.S.
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"We've been as hard-hit as any industry out there," Mr. Witherow said in an interview. "There's no middle ground. We're not a restaurant that can still do carryout. We went from being open to 100% shuttered."
Now, as some American theme parks gingerly begin to reopen this week, they are asking whether cash-strapped, jittery thrillseekers will return in the face of a still-spreading coronavirus pandemic.