ALABASTER, Ala. (WBRC) - It had been a tough couple of months for entertainment venues across the state, especially small family owned businesses like Hooligan’s Family Fun. WBRC hung out with the owner the first weekend they were able to reopen under the state’s newly amended ‘safer at home’ order.
The sweet ring of the pinball machine filled the air at the Alabaster arcade Saturday night.
“I’m ecstatic about finally being open,” said Hooligans Family Fun owner Ryan Sykes.
It had been a few hours since the arcade officially reopened, after being shut down for weeks, along with all other state entertainment venues, in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The owner Ryan Sykes spent much of his time welcoming customers back and sanitizing equipment.
“Keeping everything clean and wiping down the controllers,” said Sykes. “It’s something we’re actually use to doing because of the kids who play here. Now we’re just ramping it up."
Alabama's newly expanded ‘safer-at-home’ order allowed sports activities to restart and entertainment venues to open; that included arcades, bowling alleys and movie theaters.
Child day care facilities and summer camps could also reopen along with athletic practices. Competitions would be able to start on June 15, with the exception all of them follow social distancing guidelines.
During the nearly two-month shutter, Sykes said Hooligans missed out on peak times like Spring Break and he worried they’d have to sit out the summer break as well, which would have been a major financial blow to the family owned business.
The $12 play all day arcade had to rely on the community to step up, according to Sykes.
“It’s been very difficult, luckily we have some awesome customers that have stepped up and purchased gift certificates from us,” he said.
The state eased restrictions to entertainment venues Thursday and as soon as the “OPEN” sign lit up Saturday, loyal customers, according to Sykes, came back.
“We can help the community get back to somewhat normal life,” he smiled.