Worthing Observation Wheel is set to return next week

The Worthing Observation Wheel is set to return next week, the council has announced.

The council said that 'government announcing restrictions for open air attractions will soon be lifted', which is why it will be returning.

de Koning Leisure Ltd, the private operator, will start erecting the wheel and pods on the seafront opposite Montague Place from Monday, June 29.

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Construction is set to take seven days with a section of the promenade being temporarily closed or partially narrowed to allow the specialist team to safely install the structure, the council said.

The Worthing Wheel

According to Government rules, people from different households must remain two metres away from each other until July 4, when this is relaxed to one metre.

A council spokesman said: "The operator has pledged to ensure strict social distancing measures and regular cleaning of communal areas are in place to ensure the attraction remains safe for all visitors."

According to the council, more than 40,000 people went for a ride on the attraction last year when it operated from July to October.

The council entered into a three-year lease arrangement with de Koning Leisure Ltd last year, allowing the wheel to operate for a six to nine month period between April and October before it is dismantled for the winter.

A spokesman said the council incurred 'minimal costs' for bringing the attraction into the town.

Cllr Kevin Jenkins, Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, said: “The WOW was undoubtedly a huge hit last year, becoming a landmark which attracted tens of thousands of visitors to the town and helped bring money into the local economy, as well as creating an impromptu photography competition between local residents and enthusiasts alike.

“While times have changed, the attraction of heading to the seafront and going on a large observation wheel remains. I’m sure there will be plenty of people wanting to take a ride so they can peer at the town from a different perspective.

“Obviously there will be a little bit of inconvenience as the WOW is constructed in the next week or so. We ask for patience during this time, as a section of the prom will need to be closed or narrowed to allow this excellent addition to the seafront to be installed for the summer.”

On the council website, it set out how the wheel would operate safely during the pandemic.

It said: "Every aspect of the WOW’s daily operation during COVID has been risk assessed to ensure the safety of the public, customers and WOW staff.

"Signage will remind customers to only ride the WOW if they are free of COVID infection and/or COVID symptoms.

"Social distancing will be applied to both queuing and ticketing.

"Floor marking will clearly separate groups into distances currently 1+m or that of any adjusted Government Guidelines and customers will be required to stand between makings until the group in front of them moves forward.

"Staff that interact with the public will be provided with PPE including gloves (as a minimum) and face masks where there is closer contact.

"Regular cleaning of the wheel and gondolas will take place throughout operating hours, including frequent cleaning of all high touch surfaces.

"Customers will only be allowed to board once the gondola is clear of the previous customers.

"The WOW will operate at limited capacity. Only family members or members of the same social group will be allowed to sit together in each gondola. Single passengers must ride alone.

"As COVID guidance is reviewed the WOW Safety Handbook will be updated and changes implemented regularly."

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