Houston Water Park Facing Backlash Over Packed Nighttime Party

Typhoon Texas Houston came under fire for hosting a packed nighttime party on July 10. A Facebook Live video showed guests clearly ignoring social distancing guidelines during an event called "Neon Night Part 2" in the park's wave pool. Employees were also shown not wearing face masks on the stage, even though the Texas Department of State Health Services is requiring all employees to wear face coverings and stay six feet apart during the coronavirus pandemic.

After a video of the packed event caught attention on social media, the Facebook Live video disappeared from the park's Facebook page. General Manager Evan Barnett told KHOU the video was set to expire. "We're remediating that and fixing it immediately," he said of employees not wearing face masks, adding he will recommend they wear coverings. He said lifeguards are not asked to wear face masks for their safety and guests are asked to practice social distancing.

"We have taken several steps to ensure a safe family-friendly waterpark experience with acceptable social distancing for loungers, cabanas and seating areas," the water park said in a statement to ABC13 on Sunday. "Measures taken include hand sanitation stations, tube disinfecting at every use, health & social distance signage, and tips on a Good. Clean. Fun. Visit."

The park said they were staying inside the capacity limits Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered. "As for masks, the Centers for Disease Control advises against wearing them in water as they can be difficult to breathe through when wet," the park continued. "Moreover, the current order regarding masks includes exceptions for children under the age of 10 or when engaged in physical activity outside." Typhoon Texas' Facebook page advertised several more events throughout the week. The park was closed on Friday night due to poor weather in the Houston area.

On Friday, Texas set a new record for COVID-19 deaths reported in a single day with 174 reports KHOU. The previous record was set on Thursday, when 129 deaths were reported. Friday was the third straight day the state set a new high number of COVID-19 deaths. The state health department also reported 10,256 new coronavirus cases, marking the fourth consecutive day of 10,000 or more new cases.