CINCINNATI — Some of the last businesses to resume operations after COVID-19 closures are those in the entertainment industry — things like bowling alleys, arcades and go-kart courses.
Scene 75, an indoor entertainment center that houses all three and more, had to reconsider every one of its attractions before deciding on a reopening strategy.
“It’s been the most challenging time period of my life,” said founder Jonah Sandler, who owns five Scene 75 locations in three states. “I’ve been doing this now for 10 years, and we have a lot of team members who have been in this industry for even longer than that, and this is something that our industry has never experienced.”
He had to cut his company’s total staff from 750 people to 35. He won’t be able to return to full staffing levels until revenue stabilizes again.
But during the closure, Sandler and his remaining team members developed what they call a “Stay-Safe Playbook” with unique instructions for each attraction. Bowling alleys will open every other lane, using the empty ones in between as a social-distancing buffer between players. Bowling balls will be wiped down and sanitized between rounds.
Every trip on the go-karts will end with a sanitation crew wiping down the steering wheel, seats, seatbelts and other equipment.
Sandler said he’s hopeful that the new rules will help his business survive and enable patrons to safely enjoy activities in small groups.
He hopes those who return on July 10, when the Cincinnati-area Scene 75 reopens for a Friday-Sunday work week, will see and appreciate how hard he worked during the shutdown.
“We’ve scooted things out, we’ve painted, we did extra cleaning,” he said. “We’ve redone our employee handbooks. We used all that time to prepare to be bigger, better, stronger when we open.”