SANDUSKY, Ohio — Cedar Point announced Friday that the park will close for select weekdays in June due to staffing shortages.
At the same time, the park is increasing pay to $20 per hour, a 100% increase over last year.
“While we’ve ramped up these recruiting efforts, we continue to adjust our operating calendar based on the availability of seasonal labor,” the park said on its Facebook page.
The park will be closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays on June 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22 and 23. The days of operation at Cedar Point Shores waterpark have been reduced, as well.
Guests who have reservations for those days will be contacted by the park with information on getting a refund or rebooking.
Cedar Point, which typically hires thousands of seasonal employees, has had difficulty staffing the park this year.
Numerous guests took to social media last weekend – the park’s opening weekend – to complain about long lines for food, closed rides and other issues related to staffing shortages.
Dennis Speigel, the owner of International Theme Park Services in Cincinnati, said the issue is not unique to Cedar Point. “This is happening at all the parks. It’s not a new problem but it’s been exacerbated to the worst point that we’ve seen in our industry.”
He blamed ongoing concerns related to the pandemic, an increase in unemployment compensation and the slow return of the State Department’s foreign worker program. He called Cedar Point’s new $20 per hour wage unprecedented.
Even before the park opened, officials seemed to anticipate that staffing would be a problem. The park, which typically operates daily from mid-May through Labor Day, will be closed this year Monday through Thursday in May and late August.
Nationwide, the service industry is facing a severe labor shortage due to the coronavirus pandemic. Restaurants, retailers and other employers are having a hard time hiring enough workers to meet demand, as the economy reopens.
Cedar Point is also affected by the shortage of international workers coming to the United States. During much of the past year, the State Department’s J-1 visa exchange program, which typically attracts foreign students, was shut down. Though it has reopened, the application process is time consuming.
In a typical summer, Cedar Point hires as many as 1,600 workers from overseas, about a quarter of its workforce.
In an effort to recruit workers, Cedar Point last month announced it was raising hourly rates and paying a $500 signing bonus for new and returning workers.
In an effort to control capacity, Cedar Point continues to require park reservations to enter the park.
Reservations for today and Saturday, May 22, are completely booked.
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