“B Positive, Test Negative!”
Thoughts on the Pandemic, Vaccines & Life in the Time of Covid
by Jack Guarnieri, Jersey Jack Pinball & PinballSales.com
This month, for me and many others, will mark the one-year point of the pandemic. The world as I knew it changed around March 17, 2020, on St. Patrick’s Day and the time that’s passed has not been a “fast year” to me. So much has changed and in so many ways that I don’t think that life as we know it will ever go back to what we had before mid-March 2020.
Now, I don’t want to hear one more person say, “We’re all in this together.” We always were. I’ve gone out of my way to patronize local businesses and to thank them for being there for me. The native New Yorker in me also tips people in appreciation and in support of what they are doing.
Speaking of New York, is a casino any different than an arcade? Casinos are open; arcades are closed. Where is the science? Is it all about the dollars? I see vaccination sites in tents closed because of bad weather and indoor stadiums with just 800 doses available each day. There are just so many hiccups and bumps on the road to getting open again.
Some reports say that by early spring there could be more vaccine available than people who want it. I would guess that there will be a “certified” app that will be used to prove who received vaccines. This would probably be necessary to fly, dine in certain preferred areas, shop in certain stores and gain access to enter a foreign country… and perhaps more. I could just hear, “If you’ve had the vaccine, go to your right and if you did not, go to your left.”
It’s sad to say, but it’s possible that our country and the world could become even more divided, this time based on whether or not you’ve been vaccinated. I’m no doctor but I can see that Covid will be part of our lives for a long time. Booster shots and perhaps yearly vaccines covering different strains could be the norm.
Our recent habits of increased online shopping, almost no business travel, very little leisure travel, less indoor dining, masks and social distancing may well stay with us for years to come. We all look to emerging trends and consumer actions, new habits and what works and what does not. This pandemic has basically changed almost everything.
I know many people who have told me they will not be getting the shot. As I write this, here in New Jersey we have the distinction of having the highest death rate in the country. New York and California are just behind us in this terrible race.
How we respond as individuals and as businesses will determine the failure or success of what we do going forward with an impact that will last for years. It’s a difficult time for everyone.
If you’re a seasonal location planning to open around Easter time, make sure you give your loyal customers a reason to come to your business. A fresh coat of paint, new carpet, the latest games, new prizes, and even updated signage will show them you are committed to the future. Make sure you include free face masks and many hand sanitizing stations, too, along with a posted schedule of when your restrooms are being sanitized. These will go a long way to make your customers comfortable, stay longer and spend more.
Remember others who are hurting. See how you can help them. Stay safe and follow medical protocols. Get the shot if you can get it. Take a Covid test often if you have symptoms (or not). My goal for now: B Positive, Test Negative!
Jack Guarnieri started servicing electro-mechanical pinball machines in 1975 and has been involved in every phase of the amusement game business since then. He was an operator in NYC, then began a distributorship in 1999, PinballSales.com, selling coin-op to the consumer market. In January of 2011, he founded Jersey Jack Pinball (named after his RePlay Magazine pen name), which builds award-winning, full-featured, coin-op pinball machines. Email Jack at [email protected] jerseyjackpinball.com.