WHITE PLAINS, NY — The decision whether to open Playland Amusement Park in Rye for the 2020 season came down to whether the park could function if it were open and how the county would make sure all health concerns were satisfied. That is how Westchester County Executive George Latimer explained the rationale beyond shuttering the popular attraction for the year.
At his daily news conference Tuesday, Latimer said closing Playland was probably the toughest decision he's had to make.
Last year, the season was extended into the fall and attendance broke 500,000, something that hadn't happened before, he said.
"The last thing I'd want to do is break into that momentum and close the park this year," Latimer said.
He said that if the circumstances had been different and the county's continuing decline in cases now had actually been in February, the case could have been made for considering opening for the season.
The overarching problem, Latimer said, was that "the park itself, if opened, could spread the disease."
He estimated that not opening Playland means the county will not be seeing revenue between $3 million and $5 million.
Latimer said that some of the people who would have been working at Playland this summer will be hired for other county recreation venues.
He said the beaches and the pools, because of regulations and protocols put in place to keep swimmers safe and healthy, require more manpower now.
Not everything will be closed at Playland, Latimer said. The beach will continue to be open, as will the boardwalk. The Edith G. Read Natural Park and Wildlife Sanctuary will also remain open.
Additionally, the county is planning to have two drive-in movie nights in the Playland parking lot on Friday, July 24 and Friday, Aug. 7.
Latimer said that, as of Tuesday, 266,962 people have been tested for the new coronavirus, which is roughly 27 percent of the population. So far 34,838 people have been confirmed to be infected with the virus.
There are now 480 active cases, which is down 10 from Monday.
Fewer than 70 people are hospitalized, Latimer said.
There was one death since Monday, bringing the total number of fatalities since the outbreak began to 1,425.
Below is the map of confirmed and active cases of the new coronavirus by community.