The global pandemic has caused a lot of upheaval in our lives. Overnight, we went from hanging out with friends in social places like pubs to isolating ourselves from each other and maintaining social distance. Our in-person social lives were disrupted for months.
As the public health emergency made many businesses close temporarily, in-person gaming took the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. Bowling alleys, trivia nights, pool halls, escape rooms, and ax throwing activities were suspended until further notice. People had to shift towards online and video games instead. The in-person comradery and bonding were gone. As time went on, COVID-19 restrictions were modified and lifted in many places across the country.
As one of the most popular in-person social games, escape rooms had to adapt to the public health emergency or face permanent closure. Once they were allowed to reopen, in-person gaming venues have had to change their practices to ensure a safe yet fun experience for their customers. This article will walk you through the ways escape rooms adapted to the pandemic to ensure a safe and fun experience.
The Evolution Of Escape Rooms During The Pandemic
Pre-pandemic, escape rooms were a popular group gaming activity. Escape rooms create a fun, interactive atmosphere for couples and groups of people to depart from reality for a few hours. They are a fully-immersive, live-action video game type experience. People get to enjoy spectacular room designs, engage in problem-solving, and work together to solve the puzzle. They have to uncover hidden clues, solve tough puzzles, and crack challenging codes. Post-pandemic, like other gaming businesses, escape rooms had to change their practices to meet public health guidelines as well as welcome the latest technologies.
Adopting Technology. As more games moved online, many escape rooms embraced technology like virtual reality (VR) to enhance the escape game room experience.
Moving Online. Some escape rooms even went online, such as being run through Zoom, offering virtual alternatives to the in-person experience. Players could still solve complex ciphers and unlock hidden passageways from the safety of their homes.
Adjusting The Schedule. More people work remotely today than ever before. Many remote workers have flexible schedules. As a result, gaming adopted different hours and schedules to accommodate the increase in demand for all times of the day.
Sanitation Practices. Escape game rooms practiced thoroughly sanitizing between guests. Many even replace high-touched items with new ones to reduce the spread of germs.
Private Party Reservations. At the height of the pandemic, many escape rooms offered private reservations only on staggered schedules so they could space out groups as well as have time to clean. These parties would also be limited to a certain number of people, with mask-wearing being mandatory or optional depending on preferences.
Employees’ Safety. Safety measures for escape room employees were also adopted, including wearing masks and practicing safe hygiene. Many employees wear gloves while cleaning. At the height of the pandemic, some escape room employees would have their temperature taken on-premises and be asked to stay home if feeling unwell.
While some escape rooms might have reverted to pre-pandemic practices, many escape rooms kept their changes to keep their business evolving with the times. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, escape rooms across the country had to be creative, innovative, and adaptable. Today, many escape rooms have reopened with small shifts that make for a safer experience. For example, escape rooms in Los Angeles reopened in 2021 and are back to their full operations with a few changes that will make them even more enjoyable.
David is a freelance writer covering entertainment and sustainability topics. He writes to help people enjoy life in a sustainable way.