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Tayto Park forced into U-turn after saying it would reopen

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Tayto Park owner Ray Coyle apologised to people who had bought tickets for the reopening

Tayto Park owner Ray Coyle apologised to people who had bought tickets for the reopening

Tayto Park owner Ray Coyle apologised to people who had bought tickets for the reopening

There was disappointment after Tayto Park was forced to do a U-turn on plans to reopen next week as it is not yet permitted to operate under Government guidelines.

The Ashbourne theme park and zoo announced yesterday morning it would reopen on Thursday, June 18, with limited capacity.

The public demand for tickets was so high the website crashed within an hour of the announcement.

But only hours later the park management said they could not reopen this month and apologised for the inconvenience.

Full refunds will be issued to anyone who did buy tickets for the Co Meath park.

"On reviewing statutory regulations that were published late yesterday evening [Monday], it is with regret that Tayto Park will have to remain closed until regulations permit us to reopen," it said.

It added that its website was "overwhelmed" by people trying to log on and buy tickets but everyone who did would be compensated.

"We apologise to all guests and members for this inconvenience. We look forward to welcoming you back to Tayto Park in the near future.

"We also appreciate the immediate support we received from the media. We promise that Tayto Park will be worth the wait," it said.

The park's founder, Ray Coyle, also apologised for the about-turn.

Excitement

"We're terribly sorry, particularly given the huge amount of excitement and support we received this morning from everyone," he said.

"Myself and the entire team at Tayto Park look forward to welcoming everyone when regulations allow."

Initial plans to reopen the theme park stated it would operate with just 10pc of its usual capacity.

In keeping with health and safety concerns and in a bid to ensure social distancing would be maintained, the park would only allow 1,450 entries per day.

The attraction, due to celebrate its 10th anniversary this year, had also put a number of restrictions in place for attendees, including temperature checks upon arrival.

Entry would have entailed pre-booked tickets only and on arrival ushers were to have guided attendees to car-parking spaces to ensure social distancing between vehicles.

Multiple hand-sanitiser stations were to have been located throughout the park and everyone would have been told to use them.

Once the venue does reopen, protective screens will also be placed at till points around the park and contactless payments will be preferred.

The statement added that the health and safety of park guests, staff and the animals in its care were of the utmost importance to management.

Park staff have also received extra training regarding the best health, safety and hygiene practices and the appropriate use of personal protective equipment.