To Open or not to Open – That is the Question

As mandates are expiring across the country the fog of suggested guidelines still remains. It is exasperating for all of us especially those of us on the cusp of no return. Many of us will be opening our doors because we have to. Many will get pushback from a scared and anxious public. I have seen this already happen to a few FECs. One in my home State of Michigan decided to open and not only did they get pushback from the government but also threatening correspondance from patrons! They immediately reconsidered their position and decided to remain closed. This is where the despair comes in for some of us. We have no choice. We need to open those doors or they will likely never open again. We either somehow keep missing the mark for aid or somehow do not qualify. Opening those doors is the only hope. I wish their were incentives for these pioneers to open as most of us are going to be watching on the edge of our seats to see how it works out for you. So you open the doors but how is it going to work?

Without a doubt people are going to be fearful, have trepidations and be paranoid. They are going to judge us based on how we handle their emotions. It is going to have to be with kid gloves. They are not only going to have to read about how we are clean, sanitized and the doom of all virus’ but they will have to see that we are as well. The experience doesn’t start with games and attractions but the show of disinfecting. This has to be a full time showing especially in the beginning. Where the real conundrum begins will be social distancing. That is an FEC killer and we have to get it figured out.

I really believe in the beginning days most FECs will be reinventing their booking software systems to no longer book birthday parties and corporate groups but the general public. People will be booking blocks of time to have certain amenities to themselves. Of course you cannot limit it to 1 person but work out the formula for a reasonable capacity. Is it 25% capacity? Hard to say but I do know that 25% of the potential income stream will always be better than no percent.

The last time I went to a gas station I was on a small road trip for a YouTube event. When I pulled in the attendant was disinfecting all the gas pumps very meticulously. I am not particularily a fearful or paranoid person but this showmanship really struck home with me. I felt better and thought to myself how I wish I could go to this gas station every time I filled up.

So no matter what the procedures are going to be and how many people we let through the doors if we can figure out the right formula to give people peace of mind we will be on the road to normal lucrative business again. If I had a view of my parking lot I would have an attendant open and disinfect door handles as they walked in. They would see that the control panels, handles, handrests, buttons etc are disinfected very frequently. I would have masks and gloves available in both adult and children sizes available. Sell them for cost if you cannot afford to give them away. Have social distancing signs prominently displayed.

If you get pushback on social media and you desperately have to keep the doors open then win the court of public opinion. Plead your case with the people and show with photos (make sure to get those logos in) all the great extents you are going to so your facility is clean, sanitized and safe for all your treasured guests. You cannot back down on this if it’s all or nothing time. Win the hearts of the readers and they will jump all over your bandwagon and not only lift you up on social media but also come out themselves to show the rest of the nay sayers how safe your place is.

If you have opened your doors or are waiting a bit longer please share your thoughts, ideas and concerns with me at [email protected]

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