Amusement industry faces trouble amidst COVID-19 pandemic

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SCOTT TOWNSHIP, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The pandemic has taken a huge toll on businesses across the state, including the local amusement industry.

The local amusement industry is struggling to survive as carnivals and fairs are canceled left and right. Eyewitness News spoke to the owner of Swika Amusements, Stephen Swika.

“So what it’s done is put zero income in the company here,” Swika said. 

Swika Amusements is a third generation mobile entertainment company that started with a single helicopter ride back in the 1950s. It continued to grow over the years, with carnivals and fairs every spring and summer.

This March, all of that joy came to a halt due to coronavirus. 

“As they started dropping out, I thought jeepers criminy. We were hoping for the end to move them to the end maybe,” Swika said. 

Swika and his team had 26 weeks of fun planned for this season. Now, they’re left with layoffs and canceled carnivals. Swika is now getting creative to salvage the remainder of the season.

“We’re taking food stands and putting them in different places. And we’re doing drive-up service where people can get a funnel cake or some fried Oreos or a bag of cotton candy,” Swika said. 

Though Swika amusements probably won’t be having anyone on their rides this year, they are rescheduling almost all events for 2021, hoping things will be back to normal by then. 

“We will survive. I’m fairly sure we will survive and get through this. I don’t think the industry itself would survive if we have to go through this next year,” Swika said. 

Food stands can be found at the Scott Township Hose Company, Shaffer’s Hardware in Hamlin, and Lake Wallenpaupack in the Hawley area Friday through Sunday.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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