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Dave & Buster's reopens for socially distanced gaming, dining

A boy races with gloves during Friday's reopening.
A boy races with gloves during Friday's reopening.(WJHG)
Published: May. 8, 2020 at 11:19 PM CDT
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Dave & Buster's looks and sounds the same.

It runs a little differently during a pandemic, but that's better than nothing.

"Yes it is, without a doubt," general manager Flip Flaminio said behind a mask. "It's very, very good."

And it's good not just for the G.M.

As the Pier Park location comes back to life, 17 of 109 employees have their jobs brought back, with others on standby if the outlook improves.

"Most of them are only about two or three shifts," Flaminio explained, "but we're ready at any moment. We have more people ready to come in."

For now, the restaurant is bound by Florida's phase one standards: spaced tables, no bar seating, and 25 percent capacity limits attendance to 371 people.

Employees are mainly tasked with keeping the arcade safe.

"We have multiple hand stations throughout the building," Flaminio added. "Disinfectant wipes, which anybody can use at any time. We have a dedicated staff to sanitize tables and games. They don't have to come in with anything. If they want it, it's available to them."

Some players used gloves and masks. All seemed to be enjoying getting out of the house.

"Me and my girlfriend, we've been working hard for a while," Cameron Jasinski of Panama City said. "We're expecting a baby. This is our first off day in quite a few weeks so we said, 'let's go out and make the most of it.'"

Working with corporate, D&B staff analyzed the floor plan to ensure distanced gaming. If gamers see blue or green card pads on gaming units, they're good to go. If they see red, they should move ahead to a machine further down.

The new normal has its pros and cons.

"Now I'm able to play as many games as I want to without waiting in line for people," Kayla Flores of Panama City Beach said with a smile. "But before I was able to have more friends with me. Now I can only have a little bit."

It's a level up from boredom.

Copyright 2020 WJHG. All rights reserved.

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