Aquaboggan Water Park shuts down after police issue cease and desist order over health concerns
State health officials say they tried and failed to get Aquaboggan management to comply with COVID-19 safety protocols.
SACO, Maine (WMTW) -Aquaboggan Water Park in Saco has closed for the season citing “strict and inconsistent state regulations” as the reason why in a Facebook post on Saturday.
According to managers at the park, an update to state COVID-19 safety guidelines drastically changed the number of people they could allow into the park at once — that number dropping from about 1,500 people to just 100 people.
State guidelines allow “shared spaces” to accommodate only 100 people, and if the business doesn’t fall under the category of shared space, they can operate at 25%. Management at Aquaboggan say they believe their park should be categorized as an open space like a beach or state park.
“We want to work to help find policy change rather than operate against the guidelines,” said Ethan Mongue, the Operations Manager at Aquaboggan. “While we still don’t agree with them, they are in place and we have to abide by them.”
Police showed up at the park on Friday and served the manager a cease and desist letter on behalf of the state. A spokesperson for Maine’s Department of Economic Development said that state officials tried – and failed — multiple times to get management at Aquaboggan to comply with safety protocols.
“The Department of Economic and Community Development, Department of Health and Human Services Health Inspectors, and Saco City Officials engaged in several discussions with Aquaboggan in an attempt to assist them in complying with the State’s public health protocols – the same protocols that are required of other outdoor amusement venues,” said Kate Foye, of the Dept. of Economic Development. “Ultimately, after multiple warnings, Aquaboggan failed to comply and was issued a cease and desist by local law enforcement.”
According to the cease and desist letter, Aquaboggan recently had more than 1,200 customers inside the water park, and “regularly” hosts more than 100 people inside the park.
“Having 1,200 persons gather at a waterpark poses a significant public health danger, and I trust that you do not want to see Aquaboggan be the source of an outbreak,” wrote Jack Clements, the Saco Chief of Police in the cease and desist letter.
Aquaboggan will be honoring any unused tickets from this season into 2021.
Copyright 2020 WABI. All rights reserved.