Carousel to Close for 10 Days Amid CoVid-19 Concerns
The board of directors of A Carousel for Missoula has voted to close the Carousel and Dragon Hollow for 10 days, from Monday, March 16, through Wednesday, March 25, as a precautionary measure for COVID-19. The decision to close comes after reviewing the guidelines for preventing spread of the virus from CDC and the Missoula City-County Health Department. After careful consideration, the board of directors determined that it is not feasible to adequately clean and disinfect high-traffic areas, such as the carousel ponies and playground equipment, as thoroughly and frequently as would be necessary to effectively protect patrons and employees. The board will continue to monitor the situation and determine over the course of the next 10 days whether safeguards can be established to allow for re-opening or whether the Carousel and Dragon Hollow will remain closed for a further period of time.
“It was really difficult for the board to make this decision, knowing how much this community counts on us for entertainment, particularly during spring break.” says Executive Director Theresa Cox, “but it has always been our highest priority to take care of our visitors and our employees.
“Safety is the most important consideration at the Carousel. Usually that means making sure everyone is buckled up and monitored when riding. In this case, it means we do our part to mitigate transmission of the virus in this time of uncertainty.”
While there were no confirmed cases of the virus in the state at the time of the decision, the board agreed the Carousel needed to continue to be a leader in the community and to protect the safety of children and their grownups.
Kimberly Roth, ACFM Board President adds, “Visitors of all ages come to the Carousel each day; they touch the same things and stand closely together in line. We cannot completely sanitize the Carousel between rides, much less keep the rest of the building and Dragon Hollow equipment clean.
“Even though children do not yet seem to be greatly affected by the virus, those kids come with their families, which often include grandparents, who are in a high risk category.
“We are doing our part to keep people safe, so they can return to ride another day.”
The Carousel board and staff appreciate the community’s support, and regret the inconvenience this decision will cause for many families who rely on the Carousel and Dragon Hollow for affordable entertainment. The board will monitor conditions and issue further statements as decisions are made.
The Carousel has also postponed the annual Ride-a-Thon fundraiser until the situation improves. Donations to offset expenses associated with keeping people safe are welcome at www.carouselformissoula.com/donate or by sending a check made out to ACFM to PO Box 3345, Missoula, MT 59806.