Deno's Wonder Wheel Park works on upgrades, safety preps with season's start stalled
As business owners in the city anxiously prepare for the green light to reopen, Deno's Wonder Wheel Park in Coney Island is hard at work adding virus safety measures and updating its rides.
In more normal times, Monday would have been a big celebration to mark the 100th anniversary of the opening of the landmark.
On Sunday, New Yorkers peeked through the big gates and speculated on the parks' opening. It remains closed for now, but Deno's owners have been running the rides periodically to keep them lubricated and maintained.
They're prepared to open the gates once they're given permission.
There have been some changes to the park this year. They have installed a new kiddie roller coaster and brought the parcel of land next door with plans to expand.
Over the last few days, the park has also taken measures to be ready for social distancing and other virus safety precautions.
Yellow markings and red signs on the ground remind people to stay 6 feet apart. Plexiglas covers the windows of the sweet shoppe, which is already serving up candy and confections. The entrance to each ride has hand sanitizer stations, and owner Dennis Vourderis says they are prepared to take any additional measures to reopen while keeping visitors and staff safe.
"We are planning to take temperatures of all our employees before the start of their shift, we are going to ask them a series of questions about how they feel. We have put markings on the floor so people can be reminded of social distancing. We've also placed hand sanitizers at the entrance to every ride and we also plan to wipe down touch points often," Vourderis says.
He adds that the fact that it is an outdoor park can make it easier to keep people distant, especially if they will be operating at half capacity.
"We are also willing to become a gated park for once in our history…in the past, we've been an open-gate park so anyone could walk in and buy a frankfurter use the restroom and leave. This would be a different season in terms of being able to control the amount of people in the park," Vourderis says.
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