Family fun spots in Kansas making safety changes ahead of reopening Friday

KC Comeback

SHAWNEE, Kan. – Indoor leisure spaces like arcades, theaters and bowling alleys can open their doors on Friday, as Kansas moves into Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan

At Park Lanes in Shawnee, the lanes are cleared, the pins are set, and the Johannes family is ready to get back to business. But, operations at the family fun center will look a little different when customers return.

“We’re prepared,” said the owner Bob Johannes

There are now sanitizer stations throughout the facility, sneeze guards at the front desk, new markings on the floor and walls – reminding people to practice social distancing – and the racks holding the house balls are completely out of reach.

“We moved it to where we can control it while we’re coming out of this pandemic,” Johannesn said.

Instead of sticking your fingers inside balls to find the best match, patrons will now use a measuring ball.

“So, all they have to do is put their hand in that measuring ball, see what size they got, then we can disinfect the measuring ball before the next person tries it out,” Johannes explained.

At Emerald City in Overland Park, the owner has invested in a portable fogger that staff use to disinfect the building daily.

“Anything we can do to ease their concerns, we’ve been trying to do,” said Sean McNown, the director of group activities.

The gymnastic and kids play space planning a soft-opening, limiting the number of people allowed in the facility, while also keeping some high-impact areas roped off.

“Anytime a coach is going to be out here with a kid, they’re either going to have a caddy or fanny pack with disinfect, cleaning supplies, masks, gloves, basically anything they would need,” McNown explained.

The reopening of indoor leisure facilities comes as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Thursday that the likelihood of contracting COVID-19 from touching surface is not as likely than person-to-person contact. 

“It’s a relief because I know that was a big thing, but we’ve been spending a lot of time to disinfect all of these surfaces,” said McNown.

“I think everybody has mixed feelings on that,” added Jason Johannes, the general manager at Park Lanes. “I’m glad they feel like that doesn’t happen but we’re still going to take every precaution to make sure everything is sanitized.”

Like many businesses, those at Park Lanes and Emerald City are hoping customers are ready to get out of the house and start enjoying life again. At the same time, they realize they understand their top priority is that patrons feel safe doing so at their establishments.

“It’s been a trying time but it’s time to get back open,” the elder Johannes said.

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