How Enchanted Kingdom is keeping its magic amid COVID-19

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 19) — Enchanted Kingdom finally reopened its doors to the public, with children now in the mix of their customers just in time for the holidays.

Enchanted Kingdom chairman and president Mario Mamon told CNN Philippines' The Exchange they were "flooded" with ticket requests for this weekend — the first one with minors allowed to set foot in their premises.

However, it wasn't always a magical time for the world-class theme park.

"It is immeasurable," Mamon said, when asked how big the COVID-19 pandemic's impact was on their business and people. "We thought it was our breakout year, but alas there was Taal [volcanic eruption] and then there was the pandemic."

These unfortunate developments — which both occurred during their 25th anniversary — set back Enchanted Kingdom's future plans for at least three years, he said.

With lockdowns getting in the way of business, Enchanted Kingdom's management had to tighten their belts and hunker down.

"We really had to dig deep in our pockets. And I'm proud to say we did not lay off anybody, but we had to give them very minimal working time," recounted Mamon, adding they allowed workers to take on part-time jobs in other businesses as well to help them make ends meet.

These arrangements allowed them to keep about 60-70% of their total workforce. "That's how we're reopening now," said Mamon.

Today, about 90% of the amusement park's attractions are ready to entertain customers.

So, why aren't all activities open? The Enchanted Kingdom big boss says it's because not all of their employees are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 yet as required by the government, owing to "slight" delays in inoculation efforts outside the capital region.

Still, Mamon said their entire workforce will be able to complete their vaccination by end-November, allowing all rides and attractions to operate in time for the holidays.

"We're alive and kicking. And I think because of the pent-up demand for going outdoors, then we can make up for lost time," he said.