MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Whoever thought cooling off in the hot sun could be controversial?

​Mesa's Golfland Sunsplash officially reopened it's water park Friday, despite concerns about COVID-19. ​

​"I just feel like I am pretty healthy and have a good immune system," said visitor Ryan Joyner. "I think people with underlying conditions should stay inside. But if you are healthy and take precautions, I don't see why I can't be here."​

​Golfland Sunsplash in Mesa took the plunge and invited customers back, while other water parks in the area, like Big Surf and Hurricane Harbor remain closed.​

​Golfland Sunsplash has put in place several safety measures to protect the public like having ​lifeguards wearing masks, equipment sanitized every 30 minutes, and a limit on the number of customers allowed in.​

​"They wipe down the river ride, wipe down tables," said Cheryl White of Apache Junction. "I see people wear masks, wiping off railings, and everything we would do."​

​But just because precautions are in place, doesn't mean there's nothing to worry about.​ ​Staci West is a pediatric emergency nurse with Banner Health who said the biggest health risk going to a water park has nothing to do with the water.​ It's all the visitors interacting with each other that creates a potential problem.​

​"Swimming in public pools, the water stuff is not going to make the risk of COVID-19 greater. However, being in close proximity to a large group of people is still going to increase your risk, especially if you've got adults or kids coughing or sneezing," said​ West. "I don't think necessarily water or waterslides make it a greater risk over like a restaurant, or a store."

Golfland Sunsplash is telling guests that if they don't feel comfortable during their first hour at the water park, then they will receive a voucher to use next year for another visit. ​

​Sunsplash is starting out with about a dozen slides, about half of what they have on property. Once more people feel comfortable coming out, they'll open up more. 

Jason Barry is best known for his Dirty Dining Report which airs Fridays at 6:30 p.m. on CBS 5.  He is also the storyteller behind CBS 5's Pay It Forward which airs every Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
 
 

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