Old Forge businesses looking for more direction from state on reopening restrictions

Old Forge is gearing up for the tourists to arrive, but a big part of that will be based on the restrictions the state will impose on reopening.

Posted: May 14, 2020 6:06 PM
Updated: May 14, 2020 6:24 PM

OLD FORGE, N.Y. -- Town of Webb Tourism Director Mike Farmer is happy when the streets of Old Forge are packed and the economy is booming, but the COVID-19 outbreak has him a little concerned about opening the floodgates to tourists.

"If we’re not crushed with people, and then experience a spike in the confirmation of cases here, we’ll recover," he said.

The town of Webb did take a financial hit, but is hoping the Enchanted Forest will draw enough people in to start a healthy recovery. There is good news. The park is still planning on opening on June 27, and Vice President Katie Wojdyla says there will be three new water attractions. Wojdyla says they’re entertaining a number of ideas while they wait for the state to decide on restrictions.

"The ability to make reservations at the water park for a day in order to limit the capacity that we are allowed to have in, depending on what that is. We haven’t decided on anything yet. It’s certainly being talked about in the industry, and is something that we’re looking into," she said.

Restaurants like Frankie’s Taste of Old Forge are also being left in limbo. Owner Frank Zammiello is going ahead with takeout orders as long as state officials leave him in the dark.

"Once they give me the guidelines of how I can keep my customers safe and keep my employees safe, well then we’ll know how to adjust. I mean you’re constantly adjusting in business anyway," he said.

Mike Farmer says while the area is in a serious financial lull, he does expect the summer months to pick up, so long as the State doesn’t drag their feet too long on administering regulations.

"We’re set up for this. It’s just a matter of seeing what requirements and parameters are imposed on businesses as far as their operating parameters, and then dealing with it," he said.

There are many businesses across the state that will struggle with staying open, but it seems the question here in Old Forge is: What is the government going to allow them to do to keep their businesses going.

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County data is updated nightly.

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Reported Deaths: 32206
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