Dollywood is reopening in phases. Here's what to expect, from masks to ticket sales.

Dollywood will open later this month, the park announced on its website with new protocols to protect visitors.

Dollywood and Dollywood's Splash Country will open June 15 and 16 to season passholders only and will reopen to the public on June 17. Dollywood's DreamMore Resort & Spa will open June 10.

“We are excited to get open and to welcome families back to the Great Smoky Mountains. Brighter Days are here!” Dolly Parton said in a press release. “We have been blessed to work with some incredible experts at Covenant Health and with the State of Tennessee as we have navigated this extraordinary situation. Their advice and teamwork has provided untold help to make sure we are doing the right thing.”

The parks will implement new safety measures based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations.

Daily capacity at Dollywood theme parks will be reduced. Both season passholders and general admission guests must make reservations. Reservations can be made at

There are restrictions on the number of season pass reservations that can be made. At Dollywood, for example, season pass holders can make reservations for up to 2 Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays per month; up to 3 low capacity or almost full days per month; and up to three consecutive days at any time.

Most attractions, experiences and dining establishments will be open with capacity limits. A few attractions will be closed, including Lumberjack Lifts, Granny's Garden, Lil' Pilots Playground, Firehouse Fun Yard, Hidden Hollow and Wildwood Creek.

Right now, the Flower & Food Festival, Harvest Festival and Smoky Mountain Christmas festival will take place as scheduled.

All visitors ages 3 and up will be required to wear masks except when eating, on water park attractions or on select roller coasters. Guests are encouraged to bring their own masks.

Prior to entry, all visitors will undergo touchless temperature screening. Anyone with a temperature of 100.40 degrees or higher will not be admitted, nor will anyone who traveled in the same vehicle with that person. Refunds or rain checks may be offered, according to the Dollywood website. Employees will also be temperature screened.

The park has added sanitation measures including cleaning high-touch areas more frequently and hand sanitizer will be readily available.

Season passes for 2020 will be valid through June 15, 2021. Passholders also will receive a bring-a-friend free pass redeemable when making reservations.

The Pigeon Forge theme park delayed plans to open for the season in mid-March due to the COVID-19 crisis, taking action early — even before Sevier County had its first recorded case of coronavirus. Then on March 23, Dollywood suspended operations at its DreamMore Resort and announced it hoped to reopen in May. On April 14, Dollywood entered "hibernation mode," cutting pay of active employees and furloughing others as the pandemic continued.

Dollywood Company, Sevier County's largest employer, temporarily laid off 630 workers as its theme parks sat closed during the coronavirus pandemic.

The temporary layoffs, which took effect in late April, affected employees at Dollywood Theme Park, Dollywood's Splash Country, Dollywood's Smoky Mountain Cabins and Dollywood's DreamMore Resort and Spa, according to a notice filed with the state.

The company, which employs some 3,000 people, continues to operate with minimal staff, whose pay was cut up to 50%, according to a release.

Source: Knoxville News Sentinel, by Brenna McDermott

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Published June 3, 2020