By Alan Gionet

LAKESIDE, Colo. (CBS4) – Many entertainment venues are hopeful for a successful reopening this year, but they also need allowances for higher capacity levels under COVID-19 restrictions before they are likely to be able to operate successfully. That includes Lakeside Amusement Park.

“Unless the regulations change an awful lot in the next couple of months. Because the way it sits now we wouldn’t be able to operate with such reduced capacity,” said Brenda Fishman, operations manager.

Lakeside Amusement Park

(credit: CBS)

The park has been through a pandemic before.

“Lakeside’s been through a lot of ups and downs over the years,” said Fishman. “They ran and operated during the 1919 season. And haven’t been closed a season until this last one ever.”

But they are thinking of re-opening and what it would take. First, there would be a variance from county and state health officials. Then there would be hiring again. Often they connect with people one summer, then hire them the next. But in 2021, after no season in 2020, there’s a lot of separation with workers.

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Lakeside Amusement Park

CBS4’s Alan Gionet interviews Brenda Fishman. (credit: CBS)

“We don’t have any idea what our hiring will look like, you know. In some ways we’re a little bit optimistic because a lot of people have lost jobs,” said Fishman.

There’s a lot to be done and lower capacities would simply not work. They have thought of creating separate areas in the approximately 80 acre park, each with 175 people, but it still would not work.

Lakeside Amusement Park

(credit: CBS)

“If you have so few people in a facility this large, it’s not fun. You don’t have the same excitement of other people around and you don’t fill rides and you just can’t run.”

Fishman says it’s a love of what they do that keeps them going amid offers to build on the property.

“We miss all the sounds of the laughter and the fun and the smell of cotton candy and the popcorn. That’s what makes the place come alive. … We only do this because we think it’s a value to the community and you know it’s fun when you come in and you see people having a good time.”

Alan Gionet