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The Official Wilcox Arcade Response to COVID-19

Welp, here’s something I never expected to write.

The new coronavirus virus disease, dubbed COVID-19, seems to have left no facet of our lives untouched. As a preventative measure, almost all “nonessential” endeavors have been halted, with a healthy dose of quarantine to boot.

Naturally, these precautions are extremely important if we want to quell the spread of the virus before things get really wild. Regardless, I’d be flat-out lying if I said I wasn’t bummed out by all these ramifications.

For one thing, I won’t attend in-person classes at Murray State University for the remainder of the spring semester, as all instruction will now be conducted online. In a “delightful” twist of fate, this also means I can say goodbye to my on-campus position as a student caller. (I really quite enjoyed phoning alumni for donations.)

In other news, Kentucky governor Andy Beshear recently shut down a huge chunk of businesses throughout the state. “All public-facing businesses that encourage public congregation or that, by the nature of the service of the public, cannot comply with the CDC guidelines concerning social distancing,” he said, “are going to have to cease their operations.”

This mandate comes in addition to Beshear’s order that restaurants and bars cease dine-in service earlier this week. (Thankfully, drive-through, carry-out, and delivery are still “kosher”, as of this writing.)

What this means for me is that Wilcox Arcade operations are totally closed until further notice. Not only do I provide an entertainment/recreation service myself, but my machines are also located within a restaurant and a barber shop, both of which are affected by these mandates.

As you might expect, the Skycurser launch event I had planned has been postponed indefinitely. (And poor Fun-E-Ball didn’t even get to experience a full month at its new location before all this went down.)

My blog, on the other hand, will continue to function as normally—or perhaps even better—due to my homebound status. My goal shall always be to provide you all with the best content possible as much as possible. (We’ll see how that goes.)

Even though the confounded coronavirus does impact me, I’m honestly more concerned for the lovely business owners I work with on a daily basis. They’re the one who really matter right now. Yes, I won’t bring in as much money—which, I promise you, is very annoying—but my business isn’t my literal lifeblood. I mean, I live in my parents’ house, for goodness’ sake.

On top of that, I can’t help but worry about how this development will affect the arcade industry as a whole. Public gaming could not possibly be more opposite to the demands of social distancing—and that could really mess us up. This very subject actually what I’m writing about for the May 2020 “Player’s Perspective” in RePlay Magazine.

All in all, I hope that each and every one of you wonderful readers is staying safe during this tumultuous time. You all mean the world to me. And this virus? Well, it’s been a real dang mess.

Keep it real—and preferably cleanly—ya sweaty nerds. I’m out.


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