Kalahari Resort, complete with nation’s largest indoor water park, opens amid pandemic

Williamson County

ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — Kalahari Resort opens its doors Thursday in Round Rock.

The resort offers more than 900 rooms and other attractions, like a theme park and a gigantic water park — both indoors.

“It’s America’s largest indoor water park resort,” said Tim Arnold, Kalahari Resort general manager.

But in a time when COVID-19 cases are surging in Texas and large gatherings aren’t considered safe, how do they plan to operate safely?

“The resort is 1.5 million square feet, so we have plenty of room to social distance,” Arnold said.

Arnold says without COVID-19 capacity limits they could accommodate 7,000-8,000 guests, but that number is down to 3,000 because of the pandemic.

“It is the number one priority that we keep families safe,” Arnold said. “All guests are required to wear masks.”

Guests won’t be required to wear masks in the pools, or when sliding down slides in the waterpark.

Dr. David Aronoff, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, says there is always potential for the virus to spread when people gather.

“Certainly at waterparks there are a lot of opportunities for crowding to occur when people aren’t wearing masks,” Aronoff said.

Arnold says they will enforce social distancing on the rides and in the water, and they will also limit the water park to no more than 500 people at a time.

“We could see 4 to 500 people in the water park and be way under full capacity,” Arnold said.

But with the virus spreading through droplets, can someone swimming contract COVID-19?

“There really isn’t evidence of transmission of getting pool water on a person or breathing in pool water mist,” Aronoff said.

The Centers for Disease Control has a specific section about pools and water parks on its website.

They have also stated there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to humans through the use of recreational waters.

Kalahari staff will also use a combination of chlorine and bromine to keep the water clean.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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