LUBBOCK, Texas — City of Lubbock officials on Wednesday said they were lobbying Texas Governor Greg Abbott to allow Joyland to open.
Starting in mid-March, non-essential businesses were ordered to close in response to the spread of COVID-19 or coronavirus. On Monday, Abbott announced more businesses that could reopen in accordance with a statewide plan. Amusement parks were not on the list.
A statement from Joyland said, “We have submitted extremely detailed guidelines for the reopening of Joyland to the Governor’s Office, as well as the City of Lubbock.”
“We do not understand why so many other businesses have been allowed to reopen but amusement parks have been excluded,” Joyland said.
The city publicly agreed on Wednesday.
“We would like to get Joyland reopened,” Mayor Dan Pope said. “Joyland is an important part of our community. They have been for several generations.”
“They’re accountable. It’s clean,” Pope said. “We believe they can open safely.”
“We are working closely with our two local members of the governor’s task force to try to get Joyland reopened.”
“Maybe there’s a way to prove you can safely reopen these much bigger amusement parks by doing it safely at Joyland,” Pope speculated. Pope did not mention larger parks in the state like Six Flags or Schlitterbahn.
“There’s been a lot of unfairness during this whole process,” said Councilman Steve Massengale who is also the co-chair of the Lubbock Economic Recovery Task Force.
City council members have previously said an example of unfairness was allowing so-called big box stores to stay open as “essential” while locally-owned businesses, often selling the same kinds of products” were ordered to close.
“I think they can social distance in lines [at Joyland],” said Massangale, “and use common sense.”
“We continue to send that message to the governor,” Massengale said.