HARRISVILLE, Pa. (KDKA) — A local family-run campground is working overtime to make sure it is ready for guests.
You can’t blame campground owner Gary Quigley if he says he wants to forget the first few months of 2020.READ MORE: Paperless Ticketing Leads To Long Lines Outside Heinz Field Ahead Of Steelers Game
“Definitely the most challenging,” says Quigley of the Yogi Bear Jellystone Campground at Kozy Rest.
But Monday afternoon, things may have turned the corner. They found out they finally will be allowed to open on Friday.
“The phone ran off the hook, and we almost sold out in three hours,” says Quigley. “That means 155 campsites were gobbled up.”
Tayler Eusebio works at the Yogi Bear Jellystone Campground.
She spent a lot of time with campers in the last 24 hours.
“They are so excited to be able to go and do an activity, with their family, that is going to allow them to choose how they social distance,” Eusebio said.
Quigley agrees. “It was one of the busiest days we’ve ever had in 21 years of business.”
Before the all clear, everything at the Yogi Bear Jellystone campground near Harrisville was on hold.
They planned to open for the season on April 15, but the coronavirus had other plans.
Quigley figured it would be a few more weeks before they would be permitted to open.
“You don’t want to get things ready too early,” said Quigley. “So the next three days, we probably have about two weeks worth of work to do, but we are glad to have it.”
On Friday, the closed sign at the campground entrance will come down.READ MORE: Longtime Fire Chief Kevin Peters Passes Away After Battle With Pancreatic Cancer
For Quigley and his family, it’s a day that can not get here fast enough.
“If this were to go another two, three weeks,” Quigley tells KDKA, “we were starting to make plans on we may not be here in 2021.”
Instead, the kids will be able to play laser tag and use the remote control race track. There will be campfires and family time.
The campers at the campground are about 35 feet apart, says Quigley.
“People who are living in the areas who are really at home all the time — their kids are at home, their schooling at home — for them to just be able to take a break and enjoy nature in the fresh air with us will be a whole different thing,” says Eusebio.
There are going to be changes and modifications required by the Centers for Disease Control and state.
Places at the campground where social distancing can’t be observed will be closed.
The same goes for areas, like playgrounds, that have too many common touch areas.
Quigley and the staff are going through the new rules with a fine-toothed comb to be ready for Friday.
“We’ll be studying it tomorrow and making all the changes we have to. Every single one of them, they said, ‘We don’t even care. We just want to be able to get out and recreate with our families after being cooped up for the last six weeks.’”
Masks will be required in the camp office, the pizza shop and the camp store.
Yet none of that seems to matter right now.MORE NEWS: 'We're Ready To Go': Steelers Fans Thrilled At The Chance To Tailgate, Watch Home Game At Heinz Field
“We’ve been begging to be open, to make sure we stay in business and keep our livelihood,” says Quigley. “But we want to do it in the safest manner possible for campers and guests.”