Family entertainment centers are a hub of people of all ages coming to the same venue to have a great time. A large number of people congregating in one environment and high traffic areas creates an unhygienic environment; handprints and fingerprints across all surface areas, including the games, tokens, and money. Generally, this wouldn’t be a point of concern because you clean your FEC before opening, throughout the day, and end of day; however, given the COVID-19 (coronavirus) epidemic, the hygiene of your FEC is more critical than ever. COVID-19 can live and survive for days on surface areas and, especially, cash, money and banknotes (tokens and tickets).
Cards Over Cash
Cash is well known to be dirty, passing on germs and infections, something cashless and contactless forms of payment obviously do not. If your FEC utilizes coin or token systems, the risk is too high and now is the time to switch over to contactless technology. If you needed any more reasons apart from the great benefits they provide to an FEC, you’ve now got it. The coronavirus has been found to stay on coins for many hours to a day, meaning that as coins keep getting circulated through your FEC, germs spread from person to person to person.
To understand the risk to your business, simply perform a google search of what's resulted in other companies after the coronavirus was detected in their business; their businesses came to a literal stop. The World Health Organisation has even said that people should be using contactless payment where possible and not cash.
Washing your hands or using hand sanitizer is an effective way of minimizing the risk of contracting the coronavirus and many other illnesses too. A useful starting point is setting up hand sanitizing stations (if you can get your hands on it) across higher traffic areas of your FEC, like the entry point, in an arcade section, or entrance and exit. It is also essential to encourage all your guests to wash their hands regularly, especially if they have coughed, sneezed, or are about to eat.
Keeping clean isn’t just about your guests' hands. It is your responsibility to keep your games machines, bowling balls, laser tag equipment ,or anything used by customers and employees clean. Disinfecting your FEC venue is a costly exercise in both time and money; however, it increases the chances that you continue operating and thriving while easing your guests' worries about attending.
Encouraging Healthy Habits
Apart from encouraging your guests to be diligent in washing and sanitizing their hands, there are plenty of other practices you can promote that minimize spreading germs. Firstly, the best prevention technique is recommending that anyone with any cold symptoms (or feeling unwell) not attend your venue. You can place signs in the front of your entrance, but most importantly, you should a display this message on your website and send out notices to all your subscribers on the measures you are taking to prevent the spread of the coronavirus to keep your patrons and employees safe. It is also a good idea to have signs up in your FEC advising some of the following:
- Wash your hands frequently
- Avoid touching your face
- Make sure you cover any cough or sneeze (ideally with a tissue)
- Wash your hands, especially after coughing or sneezing
- Try to avoid touching hands and keep contact with other people to a minimum
You are in the business of fun and these recommendations will impact the customer experience, but they will appreciate the peace of mind. Besides, having anyone with the coronavirus at your venue, spreading the virus, is far more damaging to your business and reputation than you can possibly imagine.