Deep cleaning Copeland Park in the world of COVID-19

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – As sports teams continue to make adjustments in this time of COVID-19, the La Crosse Loggers have made a game plan allowing for a half-full ballpark this season, which includes cleaning the stadium.

I took a couple trips down to Copeland Park this past weekend to see what it’s like cleaning a stadium in the world of COVID.

It’s another Saturday night for baseball.

“There we go, Channel 8 baby!,” one Loggers fan shouted.

The fans are lining up at the front gate all geared up to cheer on their favorite team.

“Just love baseball,” fan Mark Arjes said. “Trying to make fans out of these guys (his grandkids).

“My grandson plays a lot of baseball,” Loggers fan Randy Vogel said. “Granddaughter does, too. And just thought we’d bring them out to a  ball game.”

“They’ve been doing pretty good so far, haven’t they?,” Loggers fan Susan Neberman wondered.

They file in, and then it’s time to play ball.

A crowd of up to 1,600 people look on, while at the same time, 50 game-day staff members are doing their jobs.

“Like a night like tonight where we have a pretty good crowd in attendance, you know, they’re instructed to make sure they’re going above and beyond and make sure they’re being very thorough,” Loggers general manager Ben Kapanke said. “Obviously, a lot different than it was in the past and rightfully so.”

Ballpark staff are working extra hard this season.

“So one of the things that we’re doing is a lot more is attention to detail,” Kapanke said. “It’s just like, you know, the surface areas of the ballpark where were serving concessions, where there’s handrails, where there’s that people are sitting and congregating at. We wanna make sure that we’re cleaning those up every time somebody leaves that seat. We make sure we’re on top of cleaning it up.”

Kapanke says the cleaning process during games is done adequately for the most part.

“This is not a perfect system by any means,” Kapanke said. “We’re just trying to navigate through these waters in an unknown world if you will… So I think the staff has done a great job, and I think the fans have recognized that as well.”

On Sunday morning, staff from 360 Clean, a local commercial cleaning service, get to work.

“We arrive at 8 a.m. to start,” 360 Clean franchise owner Rolan Covert said. “In prior seasons, it was a much more involved process…This is the first year that I’ve been present every morning.”

Covert is the only one cleaning up The Lumber Yard.

“Step one: get all the garbage up,” Covert said. “So what I’m doing is I got a two-fold here separating the cans, so the cans don’t go in the garbage.”

Step number two?

“Then it’s time to attack those peanut shells,” Covert said. “And then we power wash the stands before the season…And then periodically throughout.”

He says it takes him up to half a day to get everything done.

“For people that know me, they know that I’m all about goals,” Covert said. “My daily goal is to burn a thousand calories.”

His body is covered in sweat with his shorts staining. Yet he’s driven by his own goals to keep everyone else safe.

“This is an opportunity for people to come together and interact,” Covert said. “And knowing that I’m playing a role in preparing that to get it ready so that can happen, that’s all I need.”

Copeland Park staff also give fans temperature checks before they can enter the stadium.

The Loggers have three home games remaining on their schedule for the regular season.