Maine Water Park Closes for Season After Exceeding Capacity Limits

A cease and desist order was issued Friday to Aquaboggan Water Park in Saco for failing to comply with Gov. Janet Mills executive order that prohibits more than 100 people gathering in one place

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A busy Maine waterpark has shut down for the season after getting a cease and desist order for exceeding capacity.

Normally, Aquaboggan Water Park in Saco would still be bringing in visitors at this point in the season.

But last Friday, Saco police issued a cease and desist order over Gov. Janet Mills' executive order that prohibits more than 100 people from gathering in one place.

According to park operations staff, Aquaboggan opened on July 1, operating at 25% capacity or up to 1,500 people.

Then, according to management, the rules were clarified by the state on Aug. 1, allowing just 100 people, a number the park thought it could exceed based on its size.

"Across other industries, there are standards for square footage per person… beaches with no regulations," Aquaboggan operations manager Ethan Mongue said.

However, according to Saco Code Enforcement Director, Richard Lambert, the state's rules are actually, "the spacing or 100 people, whichever is less."

"I think that's the part they may have missed," Lambert said.

He added that the city of Saco did not shut down the park and it would be allowed to reopen if it complied with the governor's executive order.

Lambert also told NBC10 Boston and NECN that on one of his visits the number of people in the park was around 1,200 and that the state had received complaints about Aquaboggan from visitors about capacity, distancing and other precautions not being taken.

It was those complaints that, Lambert says, prompted multiple state and local inspections and reminders to the park until the cease and desist notice last Friday.

"They acted on what they believe to be a violation of the governor's executive order," said Lambert of the state's action.

In a Tuesday briefing with media, Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner, Jeanne Lambrew, said that state officials had considered shutting down the pool and snack bar at the park but after repeated attempts to work with the staff there felt, "we had no choice."

For its part, the park said it could not balance being open and in compliance and instead thanked customers for its 2020 season in a Friday announcement that the park would not reopen until next year.

Aquaboggan also said it would work with state officials to create policy change, though Maine DHHS said that the park did have the ability to reach the agency at any point leading up to the order.

"I'm under the belief that they were well-intentioned but the reports indicated, there were just too many people patronizing that particular business at one time," Lambert said.

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