Vala’s Pumpkin Patch opening amid pandemic

Sophia Sgourakis, Section Editor

Fall: when pumpkin-spice-everything returns, haunted houses open, and pumpkin patches become filled with not only pumpkins, but people too. In Omaha, one of the most visited places during the fall season is Vala’s Pumpkin Patch. During a pandemic, I would’ve thought Vala’s would have to close the doors for the 2020 season, but I guess not.
On the Vala’s website, they do indeed address COVID and safety measures they are taking such as requiring masks and social distancing, screening employees before their shift, and placing hand sanitizing stations by every attraction and food location. However, something about Vala’s being open still doesn’t sit right with me.
There are so many attractions at Vala’s where tons of people will be touching the same things. This includes the corn jump pit, the several different locations where bikes are used, the indoor dodgeball playground, the obstacle courses, and tons more. People also tend to touch multiple pumpkins before they find the perfect one. Therefore, there are many objects that everyone will be touching, and it is very unlikely that staff members will be cleaning everything off.
Not to mention, everyone is also right on top of each other at Vala’s. Even if social distancing rules are in place, it will be hard to regulate. On the website, they claim that they will be limiting the number of guests in order to comply with government guidelines. I have doubts that this will actually happen daily. Also, what is considered “too many” people in the pumpkin patch at once?
I understand that businesses need to remain open during these challenging times in order to help the economy, but I think it is extremely unfair that Vala’s is allowed to open at this time when the positivity rate is the highest it has been throughout the past several months. And although rules are in place, I have doubts that everyone that enters will follow the rules during the whole duration of their stay.
In an environment where some districts aren’t even allowing kids at school, people have lost jobs, and several other businesses have had to temporarily or permanently close, Vala’s should have to be in the same position as everyone else.