Bay Beach weathers COVID, looks ahead to 2021
By Josh Staloch
GREEN BAY – The 2020 summer tourism season is complete, and despite challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Green Bay’s Bay Beach Amusement Park has made it through the turbulent stretch.
“For it to work, we really needed a buy in from our staff and from our guests as well,” said Jason Arnoldi, Green Bay park facilities superintendent. “And I think that both groups did everything they needed to do to make this a successful summer.”
With the onset of the pandemic taking shape at the end of this past winter, officials in the Green Bay parks department began working on a plan for keeping guests and employees safe while offering the best amusement park experience possible.
Staff implemented a wristband policy to keep the number of guests in the park at any given time at a number which would allow for social distancing, patrons paid $5 per band and then turned them in upon leaving the park to get their deposit back.
Park employees, always masked, sanitized rides after each use and markers were placed in the lines to help keep people 6-feet apart.
“Our staff was spectacular in keeping up with the sanitizing,” Arnoldi said. “They all wore masks, even throughout the near-100 degree days. They did a great job on turnaround and keeping down the amount of time people had to wait in line.”
It wasn’t just Bay Beach employees taking extra precautions to keep things as clean as possible, park guests also showed discipline and patience to make the experience safe and fun for everybody, he said.
As a result, Arnoldi said there were no reported cases of coronavirus among staff or tied to the park over the course of the season.
As positive as the overall news on 2020 at Bay Beach is, the virus has complicated things for the park financially.
Officials are currently sorting through just how hard of a hit was delivered to the bottom line.
However, Arnoldi said they are able to report attendance at Bay Beach in 2020 was about 30 percent of what they’re used to.
Though a 70-percent decrease in attendance might seem like a reason to start panicking, he said Bay Beach, one of the city’s most popular warm-weather attractions, will be just fine going forward.
“We’re going to be able to cover our costs and that’s the most important thing,” Arnoldi said. “We’re going to have to forego plans we had to reinvest money we would have made this summer. But we’re hoping to open next year at full capacity with rentals and picnics, all of which are a huge part of our revenue and were unavailable this year.”