Since the DECC first opened back in 1966 it has been the epicenter for concerts, weddings, major events, UMD Hockey, sport shows and more. But with the pandemic this year things have literally coming to a screeching halt.

The loss of tourism and these major events has had a ripple effect throughout the entire community. Roger Reinert, DECC interim executive director said:

As a place with 800,000 square feet, we are meant to have thousands of people using the facility, not in ones and tens. It is just not profitable for us to do small groups. Our limit of under 150 people has had such a large economic impact, with our revenue declining by millions of dollars.

Back in September of 2020 Reinert had to do one of the hardest things ever by sending off letters to 300 some employees letting them know they had been laid off. The DECC managed this past year with just a skeleton crew, but things are starting to look up.

This February could turn out to be the busiest month at the DECC since last March, but realistically may not be completely back up to speed until late 2021 or 2022. So for now the DECC is trying to help out the community in any way they can, by initially being a COVID-19 testing site and will also become a vaccination site as well. This makes a logical place as they have the room to make sure everyone is spaced out safely.

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On a positive note the William A. Irvin which is owned by the DECC had a great season for tours last summer in spite of the pandemic. They had to restructure the tour to make sure visitors were safe, but managed to keep 14 tour guides, ticket sellers, gift shop attendants and a few maintenance staff. All of that despite not having the Haunted Ship, which I personally hope will finally be back this Fall!

So here is to a great year ahead where we can start getting back to normal, while still staying safe in the process. And as always please shop local and support our community.

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