GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – Summer is right around the corner and the city of Green Bay is busy hiring seasonal staff for its park system. But the coronavirus pandemic is causing lots of uncertainty over when park facilities will even be allowed to open.
Come the first weekend in May – Bay Beach Amusement Park normally looks like this. But thanks to the coronavirus pandemic this park is closed – its rides sit silent.
“It was eerily quiet around here, missed all the laughing children and families having fun,” said Jason Arnoldi, manager of Bay Beach Amusement Park.
Arnoldi says the park, visited by over a million people each year, is closed under Gov. Ever’s Safer at Home order; a reality that has had an impact on hiring a seasonal workforce.
The city needs to hire 300 employees to run Bay Beach and they’re doing some hiring. The problem is they can’t tell those employees when they’re going to start.
“We have noticed a drop in applications and I think mainly because of the uncertainty,” Arnoldi said.
But it’s not just an issue here at Bay Beach. Recreation Superintendent James Andersen says it’s a concern across the entire Green Bay park system.
“Between Bay Beach, the pools, playgrounds and our seasonal programs, we hire close to 800 seasonal employees for the summer,” Andersen said.
Andersen says the city is making hires, but worries how long they’ll wait until the pools, playgrounds and parks like Bay Beach open and they can start getting a paycheck.
“Definitely been a challenge in a sense of the unknown, are we opening, are we not, are we starting in June, starting in July,” said Andersen.
While waiting for word on when they can open the city is making facility improvements and drawing up plans to adhere to existing social distancing guidelines.
“Figuring out different ways where we can limit the interactions that everyone has with each other close up,” Arnoldi said.
“We’re going to do our best to put our best foot forward, and do that in a safe and responsible manner,” Andersen said.
Because they want to be ready to open, if and when that chance comes.
If Bay Beach doesn’t open this May, Arnoldi says it will mean a loss of half a million dollars in revenue.