The Greenport carousel. (Image credit: Grant Parpan)
After a stationary season, the antique carousel in Greenport’s Mitchell Park could soon be spinning again.
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Wednesday that amusement and entertainment options can begin reopening this spring as the surge in new coronavirus cases continues to decline after the holidays.
According to the governor’s announcement, the indoor family entertainment and amusement centers can open on Friday, March 26, with a limited capacity of 25%. Outdoor amusement parks can also be open from Friday April 9th with a limited capacity of 33%.
At a working meeting in January, Trustee Mary Bess Phillips asked the board of directors to consider how to safely reopen the carousel, which had remained closed all summer. But Mayor George Hubbard Jr. said the carousel fell under the entertainment category and was therefore not allowed to reopen.
During a working session on Thursday, village clerk Sylvia Pirillo said she had received an unofficial message that the carousel could be opened this spring. She is waiting for more detailed instructions from the state and county health authorities as to which parameters the village must meet in order to operate the carousel.
Preliminary information from the state suggests that all amusement establishments are required to submit reopening plans with health logs to local health authorities. Facial covering, social distancing, and health exams with temperature checks are required for customers and employees.
Trustee Julia Robins said Thursday the possibility of a reopening will be “welcome news” for the carousel committee, which has continued its meetings throughout the pandemic.
Ms. Robins also announced that longtime committee chairman Marjory Stevens has resigned.
“She was there from the start, worked there for many years and served on the committee for many years. A big thank you to her for her service,” she said.
With their vacancy, the village will seek new volunteers and possibly consult with the Greenport Business Improvement District to find people who can get involved.
In addition to reopening entertainment venues, the governor’s announcement also suggested that day and overnight camps across the state could be operational this summer.
Ms. Pirillo said the village is currently planning to open its summer camp program, which will be reflected after the success of the after-school program.
“We are confident that the extracurricular program worked so well that we can actually run the summer camp successfully,” she said on Thursday.
She said they are waiting for more details to be released from the state in the coming weeks.
In a statement on Wednesday, Mr Cuomo said the decision was based on scientific evidence and data showing continued decline in new infection and hospitalization rates.
“We are excited to be now in a place where we can bring our leisure industries back with safety protocols,” said Cuomo. “As we have always said, our success is determined by our actions. As long as we stay united and continue this dynamic in a positive direction, we will see more and more sectors of our economy reopen. “