The state of North Carolina is moving into Phase 3 of coronavirus restrictions this week, so businesses like amusement parks, private bars and movie theaters are preparing to open for the first time in months.
Deadwood in Martin County is one of the few amusement parks east of I-95, and it will soon reopen.
The park has been a staple for years, but its signature train and rollercoaster have sat idle as COVID-19 orders forced them to stay closed.
Derek Price says he is ready to get everything moving because the shutdown has been hard on his business.
“It’s like putting on a comfortable pair of shoes,” he said of riding the train around the tracks.
He says the news to reopen could not have come at a better time.
“This is the peak of our season,” he said. “This is just wonderful news — the timing couldn’t be better.”
The extended shutdown has been hard on his business, but he says the train helped him survive the shutdown.
“It boosted our first quarter business by 50 percent…” he explained. “The Christmas train was responsible for us instead of gaining $75,000 in COVID debt, we would have gained $200,000.”
Price says he has been hard at work the entire shutdown, so he is ready to get the train up and running.
“When we shut down, we decided when we did have a Christmas train, we were going to renovate an make it really nice this year,” he said, “so this year, it’s going to be awesome.”
The train is set to be inspected by the state next week, and he hopes to have it running for Halloween and Christmas.
Price adds that he has been able to have his restaurant open amid COVID-19, which has helped his finances some.