The COVID pandemic has affected many businesses big and small all around the world. The pandemic made a great impact in March when the arcade was planning to open. The original plan was for it to be opened on Mar. 27. Unfortunately, the arcade only opened for that day and had to close right after because it was the start of businesses closing per the governor’s executive order.
After having to close in March, the Ruizes had to wait about five months before they could open again. During these five months, the savings that would be potentially used for marketing helped maintain the location of this business.
Finally, on July 25, they were able to open back up again, but the only way to get into the facility and have fun was through a reservation. Reservations had to be made by call or made inside and there were only four time slots per day.
Some time passed and finally, on July 31, no reservations were needed. Customers could just walk in. Still, some guidelines had to be followed, such as face masks had to be used and a limit of 15 people are allowed in the building at a time.
“It’s scary for people that want to go out and be social in a social environment like in an arcade because that’s what an arcade for me means. It’s being in an energetic environment and the pandemic really sniffles it. Especially for people who want to get out but are too afraid that there is a possibility of bringing home some kind of sickness. That’s why I take the measures that I do here,” said Ruiz.
Having face masks for protection is always required. Ruiz always uses precautions to protect not only himself but his customers as well. He constantly cleans, sanitizes, and wears face masks all the time. Inside of the building, they have two air purifiers, UV lights that kill germs which run 24/7 and constant cleaning, especially when customers are present. Outside food is allowed inside and the only time that customers can take off their face mask is if they are eating inside. Afterward, customers are required to put it back on.
How the word spread throughout the town is by the power of customers’ social media. Posting on their Snapchat and Instagram stories encourages people to go out and explore the Zombie Martian Robot Arcade Lounge. Apart from the customers’ social media, the arcade has a Facebook page where they include their different events and the movies they play during the week. Instagram is also a place where information can be found. Through both of these platforms, they include that they have a total of six retro arcade machines, three video game consoles, 50+ games and a club called Gamer Girls Day.
“I think it’s pretty cool every time that I’ve gone there it’s been pretty fun, especially going with my friends just to chill and play games and stuff,” said Mario Hernandez, a frequent customer.
Even though there is a pandemic going on, people still go to the arcade. That shows how much the arcade means to the young people of Worthington.
Ruiz shared a story about a young boy who would go to the arcade every weekend. One day the young boy came and wrote his name on the wall. He cried in joy and told the owner that he was so happy that there was a place to go and hang out in Worthington.
“Like I said, it is one of the few places here in town that is actually interesting … well, to me. You can go with one or two friends, and people don’t go at the same time so then the exposure to COVID is not big,” Hernandez said.