Just like the kids in the back seat, everyone in this nation is asking “when are we gonna get there?” The “there” in this case means the day when a scientifically-proven Covid-19 vaccine lands at your doctor’s or pharmacy and you can start rolling up your sleeve. The CDC doesn’t think we’ll get there any earlier than next spring. When it does come, it’ll probably work: nine major drug companies have sworn a pact not to shortcut the vetting process on any possible vaccine for political purposes, so at least that’s comforting.
Is that it? Hardly. Word is that the vaccine will require two injections: the first followed a month later by a second (sort of like the shingles vaccine). Of course, the challenge of development will be followed by the challenge of distribution. Let’s be honest and say we hope the government does a lot better job getting the drug out and around the nation than it has with virus testing. Know what? The heck with “hoping.” Let’s demand it this time. (Google up the numbers for your senators and congressmen and rip their skins off if distribution drags its feet!) Let’s also keep praying for better drugs to help people already infected.
Providing vaccine doses will be the worldwide “mission of the century,” according to CNN’s quote of the International Air Transport Assn. Not only would such a feat require the use of 8,000 cargo jets, the group says, it also needs a ton of planning, which means countries should start right now!
Closer to home, I’d like to recommend that every route and FEC owner or manager begins acting like the vaccine is already here and gets the business ship-shape for what we like to call the Great Coin-Op Reboot. The amusement machine business post-Covid will not be the same as it used to be. Last month, we quoted the Denver oracle Rich Babich’s statement made during the Great Recession: “We’re working twice as hard to make half the money.” A discipline like that may be necessary once again as street operators look at a route that’s been hit with closures, suspensions, owners demanding different machines (maybe even gifts and deals), and a ton of equipment either rotated or taken back (and clogging up the shop).
FECs with game centers (which is most of the FECs), plus free-standing arcades and storefronts will have to continue their sanitizing drills honed during the pandemic. Dormant locations “unlocked by government decree” will need to be scrubbed down and players notified through every available medium that they’re reopened. “Welcome Back!” promotions may be needed while plush and other prizes may need refreshment. I know I’m getting ahead of myself since people are still getting sick…but I’m as hungry for a reboot as the next guy in this industry. How about you?