Mask-break areas, limited capacity: Texas Renaissance Festival unveils health guidelines for 46th season

Daily festival capacity will be limited to 22,500, according to festival information for the upcoming 46th season. (Courtesy Steven David Photography)
Daily festival capacity will be limited to 22,500, according to festival information for the upcoming 46th season. (Courtesy Steven David Photography)

Daily festival capacity will be limited to 22,500, according to festival information for the upcoming 46th season. (Courtesy Steven David Photography)

The Texas Renaissance Festival has released its health and safety guidelines for the upcoming festival season, which runs Oct. 3-Nov. 29 in Todd Mission, just north of Magnolia.

While all festival staff and participants will be required to wear face coverings, the festival's guidelines state that patrons will be required to adhere to state guidelines requiring masks or to be asked to wear face coverings where social distancing is not feasible should face coverings no longer be mandated by the state.

However, the festival is incorporating mask-break areas throughout the festival grounds where patrons can remove their masks while social distancing, according to the guidelines.

Souvenir and disposable masks will be available for sale for guests arriving without a masks, and daily competitions will be held for guests creatively following guidelines, festival information states.

Additionally, daily festival capacity will be limited to 22,500. Festival attendance will be monitored via newly installed electronic people counters at the entrance and exit gates of the festival, which provide real-time counts of how many people are on the festival grounds, according to festival information.

With capacity limits, all tickets for the upcoming 46th festival season are date-specific, and no general admission tickets will be sold at the gate, according to festival information. Gate tickets will still be available for military, first responders, students and seniors with identification. Ticket quantities are limited; however, tickets can be purchased via H-E-B, Groupon and the festival's website.

In previous years, more than 450,000 guests have frequented the festival each year across the nine weekends.

Capacity limits will also be enforced at shops and entertainment venues as well, according to the guidelines. Festival guidelines encourage guests to practice social distancing and keep at least six feet away from others. As such, seating has been spread out across the festival and venues to allow guests to remove their masks and social distance while eating.

While all staff and festival participants will have daily temperature checks, festival attendees are asked to self-screen. If sick or symptomatic, guests may exchange their tickets for later days in the season, depending on availability, or for 2021 festival tickets, according to festival guidelines.

To up health and disinfecting measures, the festival has installed 190 hand sanitizer stations throughout the 60-acre festival grounds and 50 sanitizing stations throughout the campground. Additionally, the festival facilities, entertainment venues and high-touch areas will be decontaminated each Friday before the festival opens as well as each night of the festival, according to the guidelines. Shop owners will also clean their shops nightly, and festival staff will sanitize areas of the festival throughout the day.

"I am proud of how our TRF staff and participants have embraced the challenge this unprecedented year to implement the Texas health protocols and best practices at a every level of our operation to foster the best environment for our employees and guests," General Manager Joe Bailey wrote in a statement.

By Anna Lotz

Editor, Tomball/Magnolia & Conroe/Montgomery

Anna joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in May 2016 after graduating with a degree in journalism from Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio. In July 2017, she transitioned to editor for the Tomball/Magnolia edition. She began covering the communities of Conroe and Montgomery as well in 2020. Anna covers education, local government, transportation, business, real estate development and nonprofits in these communities. Prior to CI, Anna served as editor-in-chief of Cedars, interned with the National Journalism Center in Washington, D.C., and spent time writing for the Springfield News-Sun and Xenia Daily Gazette.