Coronavirus: Wassup for Coin-Op?


The phrase “global economy” has taken on special meaning to everyone in this industry as the disease of the decade spreads from the Eastern to the Western hemisphere. Whether it’s a machine, a plush toy, or a power supply made overseas by a plant that might be shut down, it could bring problems to the operator in mid-Kansas who needs it. (Before going further, it’s important to note that you can’t catch the coronavirus by touching a game made in China or a plush toy from Bangladesh.)

It’s also important to remind all in the trade to be proactive as this thing works its way through. Many in the know will cite the ailment’s similarities to the flu, which wanes as the weather warms. Fingers are crossed that the coronavirus will do the same, though we’ve still got a couple of months to go before we find out. Meantime, let’s hope the medical world will soon present some other remedies and precautions. For now, let’s review what needs to be done by our industry, starting with the magic word: Purell.

Yes, every employee should have his or her little bottle of hand sanitizer on their person or wherever they keep their wallets. More important, management should emphasize that frequent use of this magic elixir, which should contain at least 60% alcohol, is mandatory. Also, family fun center owners and arcade operators need conspicuous wall-mounted or stand-alone hand sanitizer stations throughout their locations. Boxes of hand-wipes should also be visible for players who’d like to wipe down game controls. (Please also increase the number of trash pails in the place, and have them emptied more frequently.)

There should be no need to mention the word “restroom” where the “optics” of soap, hot water, clean towels, scrubbed floors and surfaces not only protect customers and workers but demonstrate that you’re running a healthy show. By the way, even route operators need to be proactive, asking their locations to put those boxes of alcohol wipes out there on the bar and elsewhere for folks to clean off the cue sticks, pinball controls, etc. Of course, you should also be proactive around your own facility by cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces. This, the CDC advises, can be accomplished using a regular spray or wipe.

Will play be falling off as many expect? To some degree, especially from players already avoiding any situation where lots of folks gather. We’ve even heard from one of our own Amusement Expo exhibitors who intends on driving from his base in Jersey to the show in New Orleans rather than taking a plane! Just remember that this is a worldwide situation that’s changing by the day, and while the coronavirus seems similar to the common flu, people’s fear levels differ one to the other. Let’s just do what we can and stay tuned to the media reports (one of which, on NPR, says the Chinese have begun reopening some of their factories).

Useful links:

The Center for Disease Control has continual updates and helpful information, including prevention, symptoms and more:

Here’s an informative video that explains the science of the Coronavirus:

A solid, straightforward explanation from CBS’ Sunday Morning show:




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