Crowd Regulations, Jobless Benefits,
Caused Patton To Cancel 2020 Season
“What if a coach comes in from out of the area, and the kids get infected?” he reflected the day after deciding it will be impossible to open his youth-baseball tournament venue on Route 205 this summer.
But many obstacles, he discovered over the past several weeks, were arrayed against a successful 2020 season that he’s been hoping, week by week, to launch since early May:
- STAFFING: As he considered what’s left of the season, he discovered that employees who had gone on unemployment were receiving an extra $600 a week in benefits. Earning $1,000 a week staying at home instead of $400 at the baseball park, they were reluctant to return to work. “I don’t blame them,” said Patton.
- RESTAURANTS and LODGING: The park operates two restaurants, The All Star Tavern and the sit-down Overlook, and a 40-room hotel, but the measures required to operate them safely were daunting.
- CROWD LIMITS: Governor Cuomo’s latest NY Forward strictures limit crowds to 150. “We have thousands,” said Patton. It was a bridge too far.
While Cooperstown Dreams Park, in Hartwick Seminary, cancelled its season in March, shortly after the governor’s emergency declaration, Patton kept hoping he could make it happen – in the end, to no avail.
He said all prospective participants, their families and coaches have been notified the rest of the season has been cancelled, and down payments are being returned, he said.
“I feel bad for all the fine business that depend on the season,” he said, “but we’re looking ahead to 2021.”
Meanwhile, he said, “Brenda and I haven’t had a summer vacation in 40 years.”