Greenport carousel preparing to reopen following governor’s go-ahead for amusement, entertainment facilities

After a stationary season, the antique carousel in Greenport’s Mitchell Park may spin again soon.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that amusement and entertainment facilities can begin reopening this spring as the post-holiday surge in new coronavirus cases continues to decline.

Indoor family entertainment and amusement centers can begin opening Friday, March 26 with limited 25% capacity, according to the governor’s announcement. Outdoor amusement parks may also open beginning Friday, April 9, with limited capacity of 33%.

At a work session in January, trustee Mary Bess Phillips asked the board to begin looking at how to safely reopen the carousel, which remained shuttered throughout the summer. But Mayor George Hubbard Jr. said the carousel falls under the amusement category and thus wasn’t allowed to reopen.

During a work session Thursday, village clerk Sylvia Pirillo said she received unofficial word that the carousel would be able to open this spring. She’s waiting on more specific guidance from the state and county health departments on what parameters the village must meet in order to run the carousel.

Preliminary information released by the state suggests that all amusement facilities will be required to submit reopening plans with health protocols to local health departments. Face coverings, social distancing and health screenings with temperature checks will be required for customers and staff.

Trustee Julia Robins said Thursday that the possibility of reopening will come as “welcome news” to the carousel committee, who have continued their meetings throughout the pandemic.

Ms. Robins also announced longtime committee chair Marjory Stevens has resigned. 

“She was there right from the get-go, worked there for many years and served on the committee for many years, so a great thank you to her for her service,” she said.

With her vacancy, the village will be seeking new volunteers to serve and may consult with the Greenport Business Improvement District to find people to get involved.

In addition to reopening entertainment venues, the governor’s announcement also suggested that day and overnight camps throughout the state may begin planning to operate this summer.

Ms. Pirillo said the village is currently planning to open its summer camp program, which will be mirrored after the success of the after-school program.

“We feel confident since it worked so well with the after-school program that we actually can operate summer camp successfully,” she said Thursday.

She said they are awaiting more details to be released from the state in the coming weeks.

In a statement Wednesday, Mr. Cuomo said the decision was based on science and data that shows a continued decline in new infection and hospitalization rates. 

“We are excited to now be in a place where we can bring back our recreational industries with safety protocols in place,” Mr. Cuomo said. “As we’ve said time and time again, our success will be dictated by our actions and as long as we stay united and keep carrying this momentum forward in a positive direction, we will be able to see more and more sectors of our economy reopen.”