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Staff file photo / Rides on the Cannon Ball roller coaster will be delayed until the Georgia governor's office gives the green light for amusement parks to reopen during the coronavirus pandemic.

Coronavirus risks will delay Lake Winnepesaukah thrills this season.

Officials with the North Georgia amusement park announced this week that they're postponing the May 2 opening "due to the uncertainty of the continuing COVID-19 situation."

The announcement comes as Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has given the green light for certain businesses, including fitness centers, nail salons, barbershops and tattoo parlors, to open Friday, April 24.

Kemp's executive order "has not yet addressed the amusement park industry," said Lake Winnie spokeswoman Talley Green, whose grandparents opened the Lakeview park in 1925 as a place for boating, swimming, fishing and picnicking. They added the first ride, the tunneled Boat Chute, in 1926-27, and its signature roller coaster, the Cannon Ball, opened in 1967. In 2013, the park marked the largest expansion in its history with the opening of a 5-acre water park, SoakYa.

Typically, the "dry side" of the amusement park opens in early May, while SoakYa debuts over the Memorial Day weekend.

"We are continuing to work closely with the Georgia Department of Public Health to maintain and enhance procedures for the health and safety of our guests and employees," Green said.

Officials at Six Flags Over Georgia outside Atlanta and Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, announced in March that their theme parks were not expected to open until possibly mid-May.

Green said that, because of the delay, Lake Winnie's season pass holders "can expect additional benefits and exciting new privileges this summer."

For more information, visit lakewinnie.com.

Contact Lisa Denton at ldenton@timesfreepress.com.

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Staff file photo / Riders navigate through the Boat Chute, the oldest ride at Lake Winnepesaukah, on opening day of 2019.
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