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Businesses Reopen Amid The Pandemic
Live in huntsville, sydney martin.
>> najahe sherman: as we mentioned we're looking in-depth at businesses reopening under the new order.
We want to know the steps that they're taking to keep you and employees safe.
Tonight we are joined by anita and herman pool from the rocket city arcade.
Thank you for coming on the show this evening.
>> hey, thank you for the opportunity.
>> what went into the decision to reopen today?
>> well, we sat and we talked with our staff.
And once we received the order, my wife and i talked about it.
We met with our staff and decided, hey, huntsville needs something to do to relieve the stress and we knew we had an opportunity to reopen so we went ahead and took the opportunity.
>> najahe sherman: how did you prepare to reopen?
>> bell well, we've actually been preparing since we closed.
We've been working in the back doing a lot of repairs, cleaning, replacement, adding things like hand sanitation stations, we purchased a lot of cleaning supplies, made some changes to the front counter to add the barriers for the cashiers and customers.
Today we've been working with the arcade machines, making sure we're maintaining the adequate physical space between and getting everything ready in the arcade.
>> najahe sherman: you mentioned the arcade machines.
You're going to have a lot of hands on those machines.
So how will you continue to keep them sanitized?
>> well, we'll continue a lot of the things we've always done, which is regular cleaning of the machines.
Even before we shut down we had an employee dedicated to just being on the arcade floor wiping down with sanitizing wipes and disinfectant cleaning, the joy sticks, the buttons, the places that people touch.
We'll continue that.
We have gloves that we're offering to customer it is they wish.
>> we've increased the frequency of cleaning up as well.
Where we used to be 30 minutes, we're at 15 minutes now.
We give the customer the opportunity to step in if they have their own sanitizing wipe, they're more than welcome to wipe down machines.
We're fine with that as well.
>> najahe sherman: what are you doing to keep employees safe?
>> so we've spent time with our employees and we talked to them about what it is they want to do to keep safe.
We've given them all -- they are all allowed to wear masks if they so choose.
We've created these plastic partitions between the customer and the cashiers to make the cashiers safe.
The staff knows that when they're cleaning they use gloves, all that good stuff.
So we're basically following best practice in any kind of illness.
>> najahe sherman: what would you like custody maniers to know before they enter your business?
>> i'm sorry.
I didn't hear that.
>> she said, what do we want customers to know?
>> we're here for you to have a good time.
A lot of people have been really stressed out these past couple of weeks.
We want to give people the opportunity that want to come out to come out, have a good time, enjoy themselves.
We've kept our staff on salary for the past four weeks.
We didn't want them to have to worry about whether or not unemployment came.
We've gone to great expense and lengths to make sure our employees are safe, customers are safe.
We want everybody to know that we're here if you want to have a good time.
>> najahe sherman: that is tremendous you kept all of your employees employed.
I know they're grateful for that.
What economic impact did the pandemic have on your business?
>> well, quite a large one.
It was absolutely closed for a few weeks.
We were able to open the retail part of our business, the store where we buy, sell, trade, use video games to curbside service.
But even then it was just trickling in, at best.
We probably lost about 70 -- >> we've lost a lot.
>> a lot.
>> too much.
It's been devastating.
And it's going to -- it's going to be a long time before we ever recover from this if we can.
>> najahe sherman: was there a point where you wondered if you were able to reopen t economic impact rather was so dire that you may have eventually had to have closed?
>> we're still there.
>> we're there.
>> we're still there.
>> a lot of small business owners have this problem, right?
>> we're in a wait and see kind of attitude now.
Hopefully people turn out in decent numbers, safe numbers.
But enough to allow us to continue to operate because we've run this now for three years.
We moved here four years ago.
We opened this as part anita's retirement, nurse practitioner, pediatric oncology.
Video games really helped her recover from her cancer and the illectomies that it has mentally.
We wanted other people to have the opportunity.
>> najahe sherman: what a great story.
And what a fun weekend to reopen.
It's a holiday weekend.
And families are going to be looking for things possibly indoors to do because we're tracking some rain.
So what are your current hours?
>> right now we open at noon sunday through friday.
Close at 9:00.
On saturday we're going open a little earlier, at 11:00 and stay open until 9:00.
>> najahe sherman: and we can see a little bit in the background.
But for someone who has never been to your venue, sort of describe what they can expect.
>> well, when you come in there's the retail store.
You step in to our shelves with our retro video games and systems and controllers and accessories and gadgets.
>> and in the back we've got a classic arcade where we have the best of the '80s and '90s.
>> plus we have cutting-edge virtual reality experiences.
>> the world's only hypoportal vr system that you're inside the video game.
We developed that ourselves.
We're really excited to let people -- we had just put it out right before we had to close.
We're excited to give people the opportunity to may it.
We have a state-of-the-art uv light system that keeps that system clean.
>> najahe sherman: sounds like so much fun.
It sounds like safe fun.
That you've really gone the extra step to make sure people are safe.
Is there anything else you would like to share with customers tonight?
>> come out and have some fun.
>> we want you to come out and have some fun.
We want you to be, you know, able to come out and destress.
That was a big part of our -- both of our recovery, you know, going through the cancer.
So we understand when there's a serious health problem.
There's a lot of stress that goes along with it.
There's a serious health problem across the country.
So we want people to come out and destress and unwind a little bit and just take their minds off it.
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