NORTH BAY -- The North Bay Heritage Railway and Carousel Company has decided it will not operate this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It makes for an eerie sight for the more than 130 volunteers who spend their summers at the waterfront attending to the mini train and carousel.

The spot that would normally be booming now sits empty. In the summer of 2019, the carousel and mini train hosted more than 60,000 rides for people from around the world.

“We had people from almost every country in the world,” said Bill White, a volunteer at the North Bay Heritage Railway and Carousel Company. “From South America to China, Japan, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand – and those are just the ones I can name off the top of my head."

White said volunteers have been discussing for several weeks whether the mini train and carousel should open. Though the decision was tough, it was necessary for everyone’s safety.

“It would be impossible conditions to meet," White said. "Social distancing, cleansing after every rider, cleansing the horses, the carousel platforms, the train seats – just absolutely everything needs to be cleansed after each run and it would be impossible to do that.”

Though the carousel and mini train won’t open this year, White says volunteers hope to be back in full force next year.