CHELAN — Slidewaters owners announced Wednesday they are giving up hope of reopening outdoor water park operations this year and will focus on a 2021 Memorial Day weekend restart.
Owners Burke and Robert Bordner said they are still working on the possibility of providing outdoor food and beverage — a final determination is due from the Chelan-Douglas Health District — but the main focus has shifted to next year’s operation.
“Because Governor Jay Inslee and the COVID Management team show no signs of altering their stance of ‘you can’t operate because we said you can’t,’ we are forced to announce that we will not have any more operational days in the 2020 season,” they said in a news release.
“Having generated less than 20% of our expected 2020 revenue, we are facing a very difficult path to get to Memorial Day 2021, but we are confident it is a possibility.”
The Chelan water park operated for about four weeks in June and July in defiance of state restrictions prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the current rules, the park is not allowed to operate until Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan. Chelan County remains in a modified Phase 1.
The Bordners sued to overturn the rules, but lost in court. The state Department of Labor & Industries hit them with a $9,639 citation for “willful” violation of the state rules, prompting the closure in mid-July.
They appealed the case in court and have tried other ways to restart the operation since receiving the citation, they said.
“After shutting down in order to avoid prosecution, potential jail time and an unknown fine schedule, we immediately reapplied for approval to operate as a park — just like the local government-run parks have been doing since late May,” they said. That request received no response.
Their next step was to apply to operate their new surf park, which has been under construction this summer, using a reservation system similar to other pool facilities.
They also explored various operational models, working with the Chelan-Douglas Health District. Those included:
- Running at 30% of capacity
- Opening to private parties of fewer than 200
- Taking reservations and allowing no for more than 50 guests at a time
All were denied by the state Board of Health, the Bordners said, leading to the decision to focus on next year.