Lacking employees, Great Escape will close Tuesdays and Wednesdays

Lacking employees, Great Escape will close Tuesdays and Wednesdays

Similar staff shortages are businesses in Lake George, Saratoga Springs

Photo of Rick Karlin
Facing the same staff shortages seen elsewhere, the Great Escape amusement park and adjacent water park will be closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Facing the same staff shortages seen elsewhere, the Great Escape amusement park and adjacent water park will be closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Times Union file photo

QUEENSBURY – Unable to get enough workers, the Great Escape amusement park will be closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays until further notice.

The park and adjacent waterpark are closing on the two weekdays “as we adjust to the current market staffing conditions,” spokesman Jason Lee said on Monday.

The facility is continuing to advertise for employees and they has dropped its previous prohibition on employing people with piercings and tattoos. Additionally, the park is offering bonuses to some employees who remain on the job through the summer season.

The unprecedented two-day-a-week closure may be the strongest sign yet that the greater Capital Region, along with much of the U.S., is experiencing an ongoing shortage of people willing to fill certain jobs, especially in the leisure and hospitality industries, which were especially hard hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“It will impact the village and Saratoga,” predicted Gina Mintzer, executive director of the Lake George Regional Chamber of Commerce and Convention & Visitors Bureau. 

Many people who travel to Great Escape combine that with visits to Lake George Village, a few minutes away, as well as the shopping outlets just north of the amusement park.

Parents may also drop their kids off at the park while they peruse the outlets or dine in the village.

Additionally, summer visitors to the Saratoga Race Course often come to the Great Escape or Lake George during the thoroughbred track’s “dark” or closed days on Mondays and Tuesdays.

The latest move by Great Escape means that both the track and the amusement park will be closed on Tuesdays.

“We’ll know starting tomorrow what the feedback is right away,” Mintzer said, adding that the chamber has notified personnel in the village’s visitor center of the two-day closures in order to inform visitors.

Lodges and restaurants in Lake George, as well as Saratoga Springs, 25 miles south, have also been struggling with staff shortages and some of the eateries have cut back days of operation and hours as well.

Mintzer said restaurateurs in Lake George have tried to coordinate closure days so they don’t all close on the same days, which would reduce dining options for people staying in the area.

With that in mind, two dark days at Great Escape could provide some relief for employee-short businesses in the area.

In addition to the COVID-19 cuts of a year ago, enhanced unemployment benefits may be adding to the lack of job applicants. Additionally, tourist areas like Lake George haven’t seen the usual summer influx of foreign students this year to fill jobs, although some workers from Jamaica and Thailand have been able to travel to the U.S., Mintzer said.

While the village usually hosts about 1,000 foreign workers during the summer, this year the number has dropped to about 100, she said.

rkarlin@timesunion.com • 518-454-5758 • @RickKarlinTU