"It's heartbreaking. Really sad," said Hank Salemi, president of the park.
It's not clear yet when the amusement park in north suburban Gurnee can reopen, but it is clear what will change.
Salemi said he knows the state's residents are eager to get out of quarantine and have some fun soon. He said they have put extensive safety measures in place and hope to open the park sometime this summer.
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Six Flags is the largest gated attraction in Illinois. Salemi said it is bigger than any of the pro sports team's venues, though smaller than Navy Pier, which is free to enter.
According park officials, Six Flags generates a half billion dollars in tourism dollars for the region. Lots of other businesses depend on the crowds that the park draws every year. But once the park is allowed to reopen, those crowds will have a very different experience.
"It's gonna be different from the time they get out of their car to the time they leave at the end of the day," said Salemi.
In order to limit capacity, guests will now have to make reservations online. They will go through a touchless entry which will take their temperature. The park will be filled with hand washing and sanitizing stations. There will be distancing in the lines and on the rides with every other row of seats empty, and the equipment will be sanitized after every ride.
Some of the Six Flags parks in other states are opening early next month. They are hoping Illinois will join them soon.
"We're not saying today. We're not saying tomorrow, but when facilities are opening up and getting back to normal that we have the ability to do it very, very, safely," Salemi said.
They've already hired some 4,500 employees for the season. They say they could have them trained and ready to open in about three or four weeks after they get the go-ahead from Gov. JB Pritzker.