GLEN ALLEN, Va. (WRIC) — The colorful flashing lights of arcade-style games were plugged back in at Dave & Buster’s after three-and-a-half months of closure. Now, the family-friendly chain faces a new challenge: minimizing contact with a virus in a facility designed for touch.
Recently, entertainment venues in Virginia were given the green light to open with physical distancing restrictions under Governor Ralph Northam’s Phase 3 of reopening — and Dave & Buster’s resumed operations on July 8.
Michael Kenny, the general manager of Dave & Busters, says his life lost a little color when they had to turn off the lights and close the building’s doors in March. He temporarily had to furlough all of his staff, which he said was painful to do.
“We had to lay off over 100 employees… furlough 100 employees including managers,” Kenny said. “It was really difficult emotionally to have those conversations and let people know that — ‘hey, you’re not gonna have a job for a while.'”
And those doors didn’t reopen to normalcy. Several new precautions were initiated by management to abide by CDC guidelines, keeping social distancing and cleanliness a top priority.
“We are going to have a full-time cleaning person going behind people and wiping down games and high-contact surface areas,” Kenny said. “About a third of the games are gonna be non-operational to provide the social distancing between the games.”
Many of the facility’s gaming systems have red LEDs that signal the game being out of operation to maintain that six-foot distance.
Kenny told 8News safety comes first, and anyone who feels sick should stay at home — and says he is just glad his customers can come escape the stress of life that we are all feeling right now.
“Guests will come in check it out and see that we are doing everything we can to provide that safe place for them to come out, blow off a little steam, get a little stress out, and have some fun,” he said.