In recent months, events have been canceled in multiple counties and townships in Northeastern Wisconsin, including Appleton, Green Bay, and Door County. Cancelations in community events due to COVID-19 may impact the local economy. When events are canceled in the community, the chance that local businesses and organizations lose revenue is likely. In Green Bay alone, at least six major businesses had closed their doors for good by August, including Titletown Fitness, The Cannery, Pier 1 Imports, Office Max, C Street, and Proof. Since then, several other businesses have closed their doors permanently while others such as Cranky Pat’s Pizza, Stadium View Sports Bar & Banquet Hall, The Sardine Can, Jimmy Seas Pub & Grill, and Hilly Haven Golf Course have had to close their doors for brief periods temporarily.
In Appleton, the annual Christmas parade scheduled for November 24th was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. This annual event collected people from all over the city and area to celebrate the coming holiday season and spread joy throughout the city. In its place, this year will be an event called “Santa Claus is coming to Appleton,” which will be Santa, riding his float through the city accompanied by the police and fire vehicles.
Chairman of the parade committee, Corey Otis, said, “It’s not what we are used to, but given the circumstances, I think this is going to be great for kids and families.”
The new version of the event will likely not be enough to make profits, but it should help people get in the Christmas spirit the COVID-19 way.
In Door County, The Haunted Mansion at Door County Kampgrounds of America (KOA) announced in early September they would be canceling their popular haunted house attraction for 2020. Last year, the popular activity won the 2019 Haunted Wisconsin Visitors Choice Award for its tenth consecutive year. This year, closing the mansion may end this streak while also affecting the local school district in Southern Door County. Each year proceeds raised from The Haunted Mansion go towards the Southern Door County School District who often provides volunteers and resources for the event.
Corey Vandertie, a manager and founder of The Haunted Mansion, explained, “We were concerned for the safety of the community and our volunteers, so we decided to close. It’s unfortunate because this was our 15th anniversary. We have been so lucky to have volunteers and visitors who have joined us over the years, as well as Door County KOA, for their willingness to continue to be the host site for the house.”
Vandertie also addressed concerns of the community on the possibility of the Haunted Mansion closing for good. He responded by stating, “People have asked if we’ll return next year, and I can say the staff is working to offer opportunities to support fundraising.”
At the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, multiple college events have been canceled this Fall semester, including sports, social events, and academic meetings. These cancelations may have affected the college’s revenue due to events being canceled but the value of the college to students as well. For example, when students pay their semester tuition, facilities such as the school gyms and recreational areas are included in these fees for student use. Although some of these fees have been removed for students this semester, some gym-goers are uncomfortable with closed and unavailable facilities for the Fall 2020 semester.
Senior student and human biology major Sam shared how some students may be disappointed with the university due to these changes. “I think it’s unfortunate we expect to pay for these gyms on campus, but then we barely get to use them this semester. Luckily, I saw a news report that enrollment is actually on the rise at UWGB. Hopefully, all these new students aren’t disappointed in these changes when they join,” Sam said.
By Joshua Yahr, Ryan Rickard, and Logan Stae