PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — Local tourist attractions should be preparing for their busiest time of the year. Instead, it’s just the opposite.
COVID-19 forced the state to close all non-essential businesses, leaving many to consider how to salvage the season.
Some venues have used the downtime to prepare, as well as make improvements.
“We won’t be able to make up that loss this year,” said Rock’it Lanes Operations Manager, Kristen Sheffield.
Businesses like Rock’it Lanes and the SkyWheel at Pier Park are Spring and Summer hot spots for both tourists and locals.That’s hasn’t been the case this Spring however.
The Coronavirus shut-down hasn’t kept Rock’it Lanes managers from being productive.
They’ve made renovations and are organizing to make the business more compliant with social distancing guidelines.
“Our tables are 6 feet apart, we are only selling every other bowling, we removed all the three tables from the bar. We have signage indicating no more than 10 people in line at a time,” said Sheffield.
And both businesses are taking care of all of their employees.
“None of them have ever missed a paycheck,” said Sheffield.
“We have kept everyone on payroll, all of our employees have still been actually getting a weekly paycheck,” said Skywheel Marketing and Brand Manager, Rachel Beckerman.
Both are anxious to reopen, but each is taking a different approach.
“I think we’re going to take guidance, if restaurants are at 50%, then we will be at 50%. Once the restaurants have lightened up, then will start to loosen those restrictions,” said Sheffield.
“Our plan is not to open up immediately, we have some things that we have to do prior to open due to the roads being closed for so long, there’s a lot of safety inspections that we have to make sure that we do in order to feel that it is safe to open to the public,” said Beckerman.
With the busy Summer months still ahead, both hope they’ll be needing to hire even more workers.