Alpine Coaster shut down

The Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster was forced by the state to close on Aug. 21, as it was deemed an amusement park and disallowed to remain open under the state’s executive order in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

SUGAR MOUNTAIN — The popular Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster on N.C. 184 has been closed until further notice, according to a social media post by the attraction on Friday afternoon, Aug. 21.

“With heavy hearts as we have taken the measures asked of us to limit the amount of people coming and other COVID precautions, we have to announce we are closed until further notice starting tomorrow, Saturday Aug. 22, 2020, due to the state of North Carolina shutting us down stating we are an amusement park and outdoor entertainment and cannot operate,” according to the business’s Facebook page. “We sincerely apologize to our patrons and guests that have registered and had planned to visit our location.”

The attraction had seen steady business and overflow crowds in recent days and weeks during the summer following its opening, but also experienced a setback that involved a lightning strike on July 21 which injured multiple individuals and forced the Alpine Coaster to close for several days for repairs.

Under Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan in response to COVID-19, gatherings of more than 10 people in a single indoor space remains prohibited. In outdoor spaces, gatherings of more than 25 people are prohibited. These mass gathering limits include parades, fairs, festivals, auditoriums, stadiums, arenas, conference rooms and meeting halls. The mass gathering limit does not apply to retail businesses, restaurants, personal care and grooming businesses, pools, child care, day camps and overnight camps.

Public playgrounds, bars, nightclubs, movie theaters, museums, bowling alleys, amusement parks, arcades and skating rinks remain closed by Gov. Cooper’s Executive Order 147.

Late in July, Tweetsie Railroad in Blowing Rock was also forced to close as, according to the park’s website, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said the train could not run during the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the park’s contention that it was following national, state and CDC guidelines and limiting the capacity of the open-air train to 50 percent and maintaining proper social distancing.

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