Labor Shortage Looms At Arena Nears Finish In Rapid City

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — Finding enough workers to staff the new Summit Arena at The Monument in Rapid City is imminent problem now that the $130 million project nears its Oct. 1 finish, according to its executives.

At a board of directors meeting on Tuesday, executive director Craig Baltzer said the venue would work out details, but that using inmate labor would become a “pretty normal thing” going forward.

One problem with finding enough staff is that many of the performers and shows want all staff at the Monument in close proximity to the talent to be fully vaccinated, have a negative COVID-19 test, or sometimes both, Baltzer said.

“Because of the intricacy of what our events are requiring, last week for example, require that for any of our teams to have any interaction with their crew whatsoever, you either have to provide proof of vaccination or had to provide a negative COVID test within 48 hours of the event or both,” Baltzer said. “And then another temperature check, they had to go through a myriad of questions. They had a purple wristband that they wear around so that they knew that they had passed all the tests to be able to work.”

The production crew for the upcoming musical “Cats” asked if the venue could guarantee that all stagehands were vaccinated, Baltzer said. Shows are also requesting touchless catering and water stations to protect their performers, the Rapid City Journal reported.