Reopening Brings Mixed Feelings For Business Owners, Community Members

May 5, 2020

On its third anniversary, Andy Atkinson’s Locked In Escape Room in Logan was able to reopen after coronavirus-related shutdowns. Though Gov. Gary Herbert’s announcement that Utah was moving to the ‘moderate’ risk category meant Atkinson could choose to reopen his business, it didn’t make the decision any easier. 

So he took to Facebook to get an idea of what Cache Valley residents were feeling.

“It got in, I think it's close to 300 comments on it," Atkinson said. "It was a majority positive. And I stated, you know, ‘we're scared and we're excited at the same time.’”

One person even suggested creating a pandemic-themed room where participants wear masks and gloves while solving the mystery. But a handful of commenters said they wouldn’t personally utilize most businesses' services this soon in the course of the pandemic — like Lora Waloski, who wrote “it’s too soon” but she wouldn't “condemn those trying to stay afloat”.

“It’s a hard place to be in as a business owner," Atkinson said. "You know, this is our livelihood. This is what we do to survive. We have to be careful because if there's a majority of the people who look at us negatively, because we made this choice, it's a business killer for us, and we can't afford that. There's nothing we do that's important enough that we make the money that it puts people in danger. Our business is not worth that. It's a balancing act for us.”

Atkinson said the business has been following Centers for Disease Control, state and local health department guidelines to ensure safety for guests and asks that only those who live in the same household schedule appointments for the time being.

But will people feel comfortable enough to play?

Atkinson said only time will tell.