“We can’t just exist in this void” – Ocean City amusement parks and arcades say they’re running out of time, money
OCEAN CITY, Md. – With Governor Larry Hogan’s announcement that the state is entering phase 2 of reopening Friday, some businesses are preparing to open back up. But, amusement park and arcade owners in Ocean City say they’re feeling left behind. “Right now what does a tourist have to do in Ocean City? Let’s think about it. They can walk down the boardwalk, they can’t go in a single restaurant, and they can’t go in a single arcade. They can’t go in any single outdoor attraction,” said Trimper’s Rides president Antoinette Bruno.
The Ocean City Hotel Motel Restaurant Association says they’ve been working with amusement parks and arcades in Ocean City. Executive director Susan Jones says the’re frustrated because they weren’t given a sure date on when they can reopen. “People need to have the ability to generate income. So, you had people closed for almost 9 weeks. Now and this is their season,” said Jones.
Trimper’s Rides says they’re planning to reopen on June 17th. The governor teased amusement parks may be allowed to reopen towards the end of the school year, which happens across Maryland in the next two weeks – but made no promises of an official date. “We are still excited, but Governor, if we don’t reopen it’ll all be for naught,” said Bruno.
Bruno tells 47ABC that she and her team have been gathering supplies for weeks to make sure they can safely reopen. For arcades like Marty’s Playland, Sport Land and Fun City, its a different story. They say they’ve received no guidance from the governor. The arcades say if they aren’t allowed to reopen soon, time and money will run out. “Our credit line is tapped out. We owe over $1 million between two arcades,” said Sport Land and Fun City president Jerry Greenspan.
Marty’s Playland manager Joe Mohr says if other boardwalk businesses can open, arcades should be able to as well. “Everything up and down the boardwalk is open. We’re the only ones that are closed. The arcades are closed, parks closed, everything else is open,” said Mohr.
Jones says that many business owners are frustrated by the lack of a concrete timeline provided by Governor Hogan. “Delaware is telling the people phase 2 is June 15, and it will include X, Y, Z. We are not being told that,” said Jones.
Business owners tell 47ABC that if a major pillar of ocean city’s economy can’t open soon, it might never open again. “I hope the governor realizes that our industry is going to go into bankruptcy,” said Greenspan.
Burno says that Trimper’s Rides is a historic landmark for Ocean City. She says that she hopes it can remain an important part of the town if allowed to reopen. “Governor, we have to open. If you want Trimper’s Rides – Trimper’s Rides of Ocean City – to be able to be in business for the next hundred years, we have to open,” said Bruno.
47ABC did reach out to Governor Hogan’s office, and asked why amusement parks and arcades were not given a concrete date to reopen. The governor’s office sent a copy of the Roadmap to Recovery plan, and made no other comments.