Ever since the dawn of the “coronavirus era,” writing these monthly editorials has been pretty much a dice throw. They’re often written, for production/printing reasons, weeks before subscribers get a chance to read them, and the “disease of this century” and its effects on the coin machine industry can shift very much like the weather.
Just last month, for example, I pretty much saluted the beginning of the end of Covid mitigation (and was quietly pleased to see so few masks on the faces of Amusement Expo showgoers). Foolish boy! Thanks to the delta variant, masks have begun to return, along with social distancing and who knows what else. Boy, it sure started looking good, didn’t it?
With the delta variant being more infectious than good, old Covid-19, and with only around 50% of the population fully vaccinated (according to CDC’s data at this writing), that much-anticipated “reboot” of life as we knew it doesn’t look like it’s going to return any time soon. Meantime, we all need to deal with things as they are, not as we’d like.
Any good news? NPR reported that the U.S. Dept. of Commerce happily revealed that the national economy grew 6.5% between April and June compared to the previous year…the second strongest period of growth since 2003! But now what? For example, what will future numbers look like if store owners need to shut down again? A more important question is what will the amusement games business look like if that happens?
If it’s “here we go again,” my hat’s off to route and game room operators. But after the last lockdown, that doesn’t seem feasible, though you just never know. Apart from that, we still need to deal with rising costs, the chip shortage, the delayed freight problem and the lack of qualified employee help.
The lynchpin in this whole scenario seems to be the reluctance of so many people to get the shot. The government’s efforts to boost vaccinations, calling it a patriotic duty, seems to fall on deaf ears. Lady Gaga may be a great talent but, in my opinion, not the best sort of booster behind any pro-vaccination campaign. (Then again, this may speak more to my age than her relevance with the crowd that’s most reluctant to get the jab.)
Maybe small business has to take it into its own hands by offering discounts and other promotional goodies to customers who flash their shot cards (think free plays on the games). Like I said earlier, things change week to week. One day though, there’s just got to be a real end to this.