Houston water park defends crowds despite social media uproar; state shatters daily coronavirus case record

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Sunday, July 12, 2020
Typhoon Texas Houston draws crowd for neon party
Not everyone was happy about the park's big event Friday night. ABC13's Miya Shay reports.

KATY, Texas -- A popular water park known for night hours that include neon displays is defending its crowds during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pools and slides at the 25-acre Typhoon Texas Houston water park were packed with guests Friday night.

"We have taken several steps to ensure a safe, family-friendly water park experience with acceptable social distancing for loungers, cabanas and seating areas," water park representatives said in a statement. "Measures taken include hand sanitation stations, tube disinfecting at every use, health and social distance signage, and tips on a Good. Clean. Fun. Visit."

A live video of the event posted on Typhoon Texas Houston's Facebook page Friday night was later deleted. Guests also recorded video, which showed people closer than the recommended 6-foot distance, and many guests, and even park employees, without face coverings.

A host was seen on the video saying, "We know this isn't for everyone."

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Park staff said they were operating within capacity guidelines established by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. It wasn't clear how many guests were in the park.

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"As for masks, the Centers for Disease Control advises against wearing them in water as they can be difficult to breathe through when wet," Typhoon Texas representatives said. "Moreover, the current order regarding masks includes exceptions for children under the age of 10 or when engaged in physical activity outside."

"This is irresponsible," one guest told ABC Houston affiliate KTRK when sharing a link to the Facebook live event.

"When we asked about the event on their Instagram, they blocked us," said another. "Hundreds of kids, no masks, no social distances, parents allowing them to be there. Crazy!!!"

While some weren't happy with the park's crowds, others defended Typhoon Texas on its Facebook page.

"When is the next one? That's if the Karen's don't get it shut down," one commenter said.

"We can't hide from this forever," another wrote in reference to the outbreak.

State health officials on Saturday reported 10,351 new COVID-19 cases, setting the record as the highest single-day number since the pandemic. The previous record was on Tuesday with 10,028 cases.