Pandemic won’t mean game over for arcade games

Local News

By their very nature, arcade games and pinball machines are especially susceptible to community transmission of the coronavirus. After all, between their joysticks and their buttons, they can’t be played without being touched.

The Archives, the downtown Burlington bar based around arcade games, was taking that into account in March on the weekend before it closed its doors. “We obviously clean the games every night, but we actually had people cleaning — security and bartenders alike, and management, for that matter — cleaning the games right after people were done using the games,” co-owner Matt Walters said.

That cleaning protocol, and other safety measures, will be in place when The Archives re-opens. Like other Vermont bars, it’ll be allowed to do so on Monday. “Obviously, everyone has to wear a mask who works here, but we’re also going to ask people to wear a mask when they come into the bar,” Walters said. “We’re making our own hand sanitizer; we’ve invested a fair bit of money in doing that. We’re also going to have gloves available for people.”

About six months ago, The Archives revealed on social media that they were planning to open a second bar at the Winooski Circle in the first few months of this year. In fact, Walters said that the new location was just about to open when the pandemic began. “We were two days from opening up Winooski,” he said. “We had just hired on the new staff, we were all prepared, ready to go, and this happened. You know, you can’t change how this worked out — it was bad luck for us — but it’s affected everybody.” They still intend to add the Winooski location to the Burlington location shortly after bars can return to full indoor capacity.

To obtain the perspective of an arcade game supplier, Local 22 and Local 44 News also reached out several times to Vermont Arcade & Gaming Rentals in Williston. No one at that business replied to our requests for an interview.

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