Game Changer ?

Yesterday NY,NJ and Conn. announced that pretty much all capacity restrictions on indoor and outdoor venues go away on May 19,2021.

One limiting factor is that 6' Social Distancing will remain in effect.

There was a story on the radio last night that the CDC is considering adopting the World Health Organization's 1 meter Social Distancing criteria.

If they do,even if its only for outdoor venues,that will really help out places like amusement parks.

Vegas is already dropping to the 1 meter tule. Not that I would consider Vegas to be the location of good decision making, but just putting it out there.

Vegas is essentially 100% back to normal starting this weekend.

The problem with easing capacities is it's a double edged sword.

There's so much pent up demand currently, especially with families looking to stay more local this summer. Many forecasts are indicating that it could be a record season for some park operators, especially those located in traditional tourist markets.

However, the real issue is that many parks are having an almost impossible time hiring staff this spring. CP just raised their wage to $15/hr for some of its' positions and I know of one water park in NY who raised their starting wage to $18/hr. From what I have been hearing, the hiring needle isn't moving that much even after these wage increases, signing bonuses, refer a friend programs, etc.

So, if things don't change pretty quickly, you are going to have the perfect storm this summer with high visitation demand and not enough staff to fully operate. I'd anticipate significant attraction and/or outlet closures at many parks this summer.

FWIW, Kennywood seems to be getting some traction with wage increases.

"It's still early, but the initial results were really encouraging. We've received hundreds of applications across the three parks and we're really encouraged by that and we'll continue to drive that messaging home about the increased pay rate," Nick Paradise, director of corporate communications for Palace Entertainment, said. "We recognize that this is a game-changer to change the pay rate so significantly because again, this is a really competitive market."

The article has a bit more (including $13-$15/hr, plus four season passes if you hire in by 5/10)

I honestly think this is the reason Cedar Point is doing reservations this season. The State of Ohio has removed almost all capacity restrictions in place of social distancing requirements, and Cedar Point is big enough that even when it's crowded you can keep some distance. Besides, immunized people don't have to worry about it as much, and we're fast reaching the point where the only limitation on adult immunization is one's own refusal to do it.

But staffing is a bigger problem than ever, and I can see them deliberately trying to limit their capacity to match the available staff. As awful as Cedar Point can be when it is crowded, it is far worse when it is less crowded, but horribly understaffed for the crowd that did come.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
/XXX\ /X\ /X\_ _ /X\__ _ _ _____

And then those beautiful late October Saturdays combine the best of both worlds.

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