KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
July 13, 2020
By Natalie Cook Clark
After a video from Typhoon Texas surfaced online this weekend, Katy’s waterpark made national news. The footage showed guests having fun Friday night in a crowded wave pool, raising public concerns about the waterpark’s safety practices. Since reopening this season, Typhoon Texas has been operating at limited capacity and requires guests to make advanced reservations to enter the park.
Open to 25% Capacity
Typhoon Texas, located near Katy Mills Mall, is a summer staple for many Katy residents. The popular waterpark, like public pools, experienced a later start to their summer season when they opened to guests (with guidelines) May 29. They are still open to limited numbers of guests who must make an advance reservation to enter the park.
“The park is very clean and people do make an effort to social distance,” says Katy mom Krissy Krolczyk. “Most of the people who are grouped together, came together.”
On Friday night, the park was open late for a neon night event. Bright neon lights illuminated the sky as guests danced to music. A video was shared of John Pham, Director of Brand Development, Typhoon Texas, showing the wave pool full of happy guests. The video was eventually taken down from Typhoon Texas’ Facebook page as viewers expressed concerns over the amount of people in close proximity to each other.
Many people took to social media to express concerns. “The virus will never go away if we keep allowing this,” says Lucy Raney. “Why don’t people get it?”
“So then hopefully nobody is upset when Governor Abbott ends up putting us back on lock down,” says Courtney Pringle. “He has been warning us over and over that he would do it if people didn’t begin to follow the precautions.”
Typhoon Texas responded quickly to Katy Magazine’s request for comment and stresses that they continue to operate under the guidelines established by Texas Governor Greg Abbott.
“We have taken several steps to ensure a safe waterpark experience with acceptable social distancing for loungers, cabanas and seating areas,” park officials say in a statement.
“As for masks, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advises against wearing them in water as they can be difficult to breathe through when wet. Moreover, the current order regarding masks includes exceptions for children under the age of 10 or when engaged in physical activity outside,” states Typhoon Texas.
“They could do a better job of controlling the evening crowd,” says Krolczyk. “But I believe they are fully capable.”
Typhoon Texas is taking further precautions to keep guests safe. They filter their pools and attractions every hour, which is beyond the state standards.
“I’ve been going with my friends all summer,” says Wes Waller. “I feel the park is doing a great job keeping us safe.”
Waller and his friends follow the park’s guidelines by wearing masks as they enter, and they also find a table away from most people.
“This is the only thing my parents have allowed me to do this summer as we all feel it is the safest activity,” says Waller.
No Evidence of COVID-19 Spread in Water
“There is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread to people through the water in pools, hot tubs, spas, or water play areas,” says the CDC. “Proper operation and maintenance (including disinfection with chlorine and bromine) of these facilities should inactivate the virus in the water.”
Still the park is following guidelines laid out by the government.
Government Safety Precautions for Public Pools
Maintain at least six-feet separation from others not within the individual's group at the pool.
If such distancing is not feasible, other measures such as face covering, hand hygiene, cough etiquette, cleanliness, and sanitation should be practiced.
Self-screen before going. Be mindful or persisting or new symptoms that could be linked to COVID-19. See an updated list of symptoms here.
Wash or sanitize hands after any interaction.
Consider wearing a face covering, but face coverings should not be worn in the water.
Individuals aged 65 or older are at a higher risk of COVID-19. To the extent possible, avoid contact within six feet with individuals aged 65 and older. Individuals aged 65 and older should stay at home as much as possible.
The video shared from Friday night’s event showed employees dancing, and some weren’t wearing masks. While lifeguards are not required to wear masks due to safety, other employees are required to wear them.
In the video, John Pham- Director of Brank Management for Typhoon Texas shows off the party and invites people to come to the park. “If it’s not for you, we’re here when you’re ready,” says Pham.
Typhoon Texas is open and operating at 25% capacity. Make a reservation or find out more at their website.