VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Playland at the PNE is coming back. The amusement park plans to reopen through a phased-in approach starting July 10.
According to the PNE, Playland is the only place in Canada attempting such a reopening amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The first phase will include 12 of our most popular family-friendly rides,” PNE President and CEO Shelley Frost says. “We have plans to increase the number and types of rides as our phases continue through the summer and, as always, we’ll work with all of our health authorities to ensure proper health and safety protocols throughout the park.”
"We at the PNE know in our hearts that the strength of our history is the foundation upon which we will build a bright future, and we humbly thank you all, for your incredible support these past two months." – read a heartfelt letter to from PNE President https://t.co/mGt1ATNCCh
— PNE Events & Playland (@PNE_Playland) June 25, 2020
Admission to Playland will be under $30 during the first phase, Frost notes. Visitors will get a face mask with their admission that will need to be worn on rides.
The rides will be cleaned and sanitation stations will be available at the park. Frost says people will need to buy date-specific tickets for a particular portion of the day, to start.
Ahead of Playland’s reopening, the PNE will host a drive through Canada Day celebration on July 1 — “the only live parade for Canada Day in 2020.”
Guests are encouraged to dress in red and white and to decorate their cars in the spirit of Canada. Tickets are $10.
PNE Fair is coming back
In addition to the Playland reopening, Frost says the PNE Fair will also run in late August in what she calls an “unconventional way.”
“This, too, will be a drive-through experience during late August and it will include all of your Fair favourites, including the SuperDogs, agricultural exhibits, and a ton of family fun,” Frost says, adding the PNE is committed to ensuring protocols are in place and followed.
Frost admits while the reopenings are positive, they won’t “dramatically improve” the financial situation the PNE is in.
Through these measures, the park is expected to rehire hundreds of workers.
“It’s going to provide some desperately needed income for our exhibitors, partners, and concessionaires, and it will also allow us to help stay connected with your in B.C. so that we can help play a small role in creating some memories and bringing back some smiles during a really challenging time.”
Due to the way it operates, the PNE has not been able to take advantage of the federal Wage Subsidy Program or other benefits.
Frost says conversations on help with all levels of government are ongoing, and that the PNE is actively looking at ways to access aid.
“It’s a challenging time because we fall through the cracks in a weird categorization of our business model,” she says.
PNE President and CEO Shelley Frost will provide an update on 2020 operations.
Posted by NEWS 1130 on Thursday, June 25, 2020
According to Frost, the PNE generates about $60 million in revenue in any given year. It’s projected to lose $52 million this year due to the pandemic-related closure.
“That’s obviously a devastating financial picture,” Frost says. “We have been working incredibly hard over the last months to reduce our expenses and reduce our investments in a way that we have been able to turn that $52 million top line revenue into a loss to the organization this year, we’re projecting about $10.5 million.”