Gaming Cafes and Bars Face Unique Hurdles During Pandemic

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The future of Punch Bowl Social has been revealed as the Fulton Market restaurant and game room reopens Monday for the first time since Chicago restaurants and bars were shut down in March due to COVID-19. The Denver-based dining-and-games chain wants customers to bring their “immediate social crew” (a group of eight or less) for bowling, foosball, darts, ping pong, and arcade games, according to a rep.
The pandemic further complicates how gaming restaurants — like Punch Bowl, Dave & Buster’s, and arcade bars — can operate. Punch Bowl’s rep say it’ll abide by the usual safety precautions like masks for workers and patrons, contactless menus and payment, and staff health checks, but there are special protocols for games, too.
An employee will escort bowlers to their lanes, sanitize keypads, and assign bowling balls with player preferences in mind; crooners can pick their songs via digital app, while a “karaoke host” will bring customers to karaoke rooms and wipe down mics and monitors between sessions. Singing could be a risky proposition as health experts advise COVID-19 can spread through the air.
Board game cafes also find themselves in a similar situation during the age of the novel coronavirus. Chicago’s …

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