There’s a self-help group which encourages its members not to give up “before the miracle” and to keep trudging until they reach the goal they seek. In the case of the pandemic, that goal is called “herd immunity.” This is defined as the point at which the virus no longer spreads easily through the general population and eventually just peters out. In order to reach it, scientists suggest that between 80% and 85% of the population has to bevaccinated. Trouble is, around 25% of people in this country refuse to get their shots.
The good news is that while the U.K. “viral variant” called B.1.1.7 has become the leading cause of this dreadful disease in the USA, the popular vaccines are as effective against it as they are of the original Covid-19. Plus, there is no longer any shortage of vaccines, but, in fact, a surplus. Like with the flu, people might need periodic booster shots every year or even earlier. But the labs are already at work on getting that one-shot, room temperature “case closed” vaccine, so we’re not sure what’s downstream in that regard.
Now comes the bad news that more and more younger people are getting hit…and young adults make up a huge segment of the coin-op customer base. Gratefully, there will be far fewer restrictions on getting vaccinated left by the time you read this. Plus, the government has enlisted the help of faith groups, unions and other worthy organizations (even NASCAR) to encourage the vaccine-resistant to roll up their sleeves and join the crowd.
So, as many, many locations including bars are opening for business again, don’t cut back on whatever available mitigations you’ve been employing. Even though the CDC recently said the risk of contracting Covid-19 from surfaces is extremely low (less than one in 10,000 instances), customer expectations mean FECs will need to continue all the well-known cleaning rituals. Besides dumping the cash boxes, routemen need to wipe down the jukebox monitors and game controls and encourage location employees to do the same. Donating alcohol wipes and hand sanitizers to those places is still a good idea, too.
The “big coin-op reboot” won’t come as a thunderclap but as a location-by-location, town-by-town, county-by-county, state-by-state affair. Even when done, the amusement machine world will never be the same as it was two years ago. But it will still be a great place to make a good living for those who didn’t quit before the miracle.