SUNLAND PARK, NM (KTSM) – Western Playland has been closed for over four months, not allowed to reopen and struggling to survive.
While some theme parks in Texas have been allowed to reopen, Western Playland has not been since it is actually in New Mexico. Under orders from Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham to stop the spread of COVID-19, the theme park looks more like a ghost town right now.
The owner says a small business loan is what keeps the fleet afloat during this time.
“I am not 40%, 50%, I am 100%. I’m completely shut down and it really affects us, ”said Patrick Thompson, owner of Western Playland.
Thompson told KTSM 9 News that paying taxes in July was more difficult this year than in previous years, even with government help.
“We kind of depended on opening the business to help pay them off – or pay them off – but obviously I just had to get out of my pocket and pay the taxes,” Thompson said.
Even after months of the rides closed, Thompson was able to keep 12 of his staff, employed thanks to a small business loan stimulus package called the Paycheck Protection Program.
“I was going to fire my guys and daughters, and with the loan I was able to keep them alive,” Thompson said.
One of those employees is Kelsey Masters who started as a cashier at Western Playland thirteen years ago.
“We walk around the park you know trying to get moving and stuff. It’s crazy to walk around and see him completely dead because it’s our busiest time of year right now, well that would’ve been because it’s summer, ”Kelsey said. Masters, director of Western Playland.
But Thompson says the $ 200,000 he received is running out.
“And we’re almost out of money now so I’m hoping Congress will do something and expand it for most of the people like us who are still closed,” Thompson said.
Thompson says he has even more hope of being able to open the park before the end of 2020.