Joyland owner responds to Governor’s reopening of amusement parks

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Joyland Amusement Park owner David Dean responded to Governor Greg Abbott’s next phase to reopen Texas, which includes reopening amusement parks.

“Wonderful, relieved, thankful. It’s been a breath of life,” Dean said.

These are just a few of the emotions Dean is feeling, now that they’ve received the green light from the state to reopen.

“We just couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Dean said.

Before Monday, Dean said the last few months have been bleak. He has had to lay off several of his employees with the park standing idle. The park was able to open March 7, however closed due to COVID-19 a few weeks later.

Dean had said he received a phone call Monday to expect good news.

“From various sources in the government from the Governor’s Office to expect good news this week,” Dean said.

The good news: amusement parks like Joyland would be able to open June 3, in effect for towns with less than 1,000 active cases of coronavirus. Cities with more than 1,000 cases are to remain closed until June 19.

“I was kind of like…. I kind of needed to pinch myself ’cause I could hardly believe it,” Dean said.

Now, Dean can get his employees back to work to prepare for their reopening on June 12.

“So grateful to be able to head back to work now and now we can start having people in the park and create great memories,” Dean said.

Inez Gutierrez, staff member at the park, said while the park remained closed, it was depressing. She said she couldn’t imagine having another job.

“This job is family,” Gutierrez said. “It’s so much fun working here.”

Gutierrez said Joyland was her first job, and has remained with the amusement park for ten years. She had been laid off, and can’t imagine a Lubbock without Joyland.

“I can’t wait ’til the 12th when we get to open. I’m so excited,” Gutierrez said.

Despite the fact that the amusement park will be able to open, Dean said they won’t recover what was lost within the past few months.

“There’s no way. There’s no way at all. We just do the best we can and hope for the best,” Dean said.

Dean said they could have opened the week of the governor’s announcement, however, he has to make sure the rides are ready. He must also order more food, hire new employees and train them. Not only that, but they must follow CDC guidelines. Dean said they will sanitize between rides. Employees will also be wearing masks.

Dean said he also thankful for those who have remained supportive of Joyland. He said he appreciates the efforts of Marc McDougal, the members of the Lubbock City Council, amongst others.

“It’s kept us alive,” Dean said. “It’s the reason we’re able to reopen.”

Joyland will be hosting a job fair on Saturday June 6 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and Monday June 8 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m

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