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Memorial Day weekend kicking off reopening for Wisconsin Dells

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The wilderness

WISCONSIN DELLS (WKOW) -- The long Memorial Day weekend is usually the kickoff to tourism season and resorts are hoping this year delivers.

Many were forced to close or only open at partial capacity because of the pandemic.

At the Wilderness Resort, staff is hoping Memorial Day weekend brings with it a little sun and heat, for folks to enjoy the outdoor amenities.

But the indoor waterpark works just as well.

"The beauty of the Wilderness is obviously the indoor and outdoor waterparks which helps a ton when the weather is like this for the start of the weekend," said Joe Eck, chief operating officer at the Wilderness.

Weather permitting, Saturday, the outdoor pools and slides will open.

That's good for the resort too, because they're essentially sold out for the weekend.

Not only that, but for the summer, they have more reservations now than they did at this time in 2019, before the pandemic.

"That's a travel trend that people are seeing across the United States and even here at the Wilderness obviously," Eck said. "People are ready to move, they're ready to travel and we're excited to have them and host them."

The optimism that Eck feels, he says, can be felt all around the Dells area as this city, which is so dependent on tourism, slowly starts coming back to life.

"This community went through a lot last summer," he said. "Family-owned business, corporate-owned business, it affects everybody and I think this community, more than ever, is so ready to welcome guests back to Wisconsin Dells."

All of this, while trying to meet the challenges still ongoing as the pandemic winds down.

"Things like quarantines, and things we ran into last year of staff that can knock out half a department so those are things we're still conscious of, and staying on top of, 'cause our goal here is to keep everybody safe and make sure they have a great time," Eck said.

He says more than 55 percent of staff are fully vaccinated and all fully vaccinated people are allowed to enjoy the resort without a mask.

Francisco Almenara

Reporter, WKOW

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