By Cathy DeDe, Chronicle Managing Editor
There was no summer. Now, with fall’s Oktoberfest and Fright Fest on the horizon, Six Flags Great Escape in Queensbury said it will be closed for all of 2020.
“Reopening the park is subject to state and local guidelines,” Park spokesperson Jason Lee said in an e-mail interview with The Chronicle. “Unfortunately, we did not receive approval to open this year, and we look forward to presenting these annual events to our guests next season.”
He said, “The pandemic has obviously significantly impacted our operations; however, the safety of our guests, team members, and greater community remains paramount.”
The park suspended all operations last spring, “per state guidance,” Mr. Lee said. “As we hoped to receive approval to open, our team prepared the park for operation including setting up our rides, games, food stands, and retail outlets along with routine maintenance and landscaping.
“Many of these efforts will be realized when we open in 2021.”
The Great Escape Theme Park employs some 125 people full-time and about 1,500 seasonal staff, Mr. Lee said.
“We are one of the largest seasonal employers in the state and the largest seasonal employer in Warren County. A significant percentage of our employees come from within 30-mile radius of the park.
Beyond jobs, he said, “We provide…significant sales and occupancy tax revenues, and endless memories. The Great Escape contributes to our State’s economy and tourism effectiveness year after year with each dollar spent in our park multiplying into our local community.”
Mr. Lee noted that the Six Flags corporation reduced all full-time staff salaries by 25 percent in March.
The Great Escape Lodge, across Route 9, opened at the end of June with limited occupancy, Mr. Lee said.
The Lodge’s indoor water park received approval to open the Lazy River pool and children’s activity pool inside “with strict safety measures,” Mr. Lee said. “We look forward to opening the rest of our indoor water park, White Water Bay, along with our arcade, once we receive state approval.”
The Johnny Rockets restaurant “has been open since mid-June and is currently open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner including dining indoors and on our beautiful deck.”
Of the 26 Six Flags parks in the United States, Mexico and Canada, 15 are currently open after receiving government approval, says the company’s website.
Mr. Lee said, “There are a great deal of learnings from our open parks to help us in preparing for operation in 2021.”
He said Great Escape has made “significant” technology upgrades to offer “a more seamless and contactless experience.”
“We also will be introducing mobile dining via the Six Flags app, allowing guests to order a meal…while waiting to board their favorite coaster!” he said.
Season passes and benefits will be extended automatically to the end of the 2021 season, the park said on its Website.
Pass holders making monthly payments had the option to continue paying or “pause” until the park reopens. Benefits for “sticking with us” include the opportunity to use this year’s tickets at Six Flags parks that are open and receive a free upgrade to the next membership level in 2021.
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