COVID-19 forcing local entertainment businesses to temporarily close, alter operations

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Photo by ING Studios with the AU Modeling Board

By Morgan Bryce
Editor

Entertainment is another commodity that has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and that is being felt by businesses around the Auburn-Opelika area.

In recent days, movie theater chain giant AMC has announced temporary furloughs for its locations, including those in Auburn and Opelika.

GoodTimes Bowling in Auburn announced on Facebook on March 19 that they have decided to to “close until further notice due to COVID-19 to ensure the good health and safety of our community and staff” with the promise of updating their followers on a re-opening date.

CyberZone in downtown Opelika, owned by Simon and Elaine Bak, announced it was temporarily closing its doors on Facebook on March 20,  but is encouraging its patrons to support the business by purchasing gift cards or booking birthday parties good for once it has reopened.

“Not only is our entire life’s work and livelihood on the line, but so is that of our fellow friends and small business owners throughout America, our state, our county (and) our town. We are impressed and thankful to the number of companies who have worked with us to push out payments, but we still have things we must pay that will continue to accumulate,” Elaine said in an interview with the Observer.

Nigel Mongerie, owner of fellow downtown Opelika gaming stop NERDtorch Cafe, said his business is remaining open (4 p.m. to midnight Monday through Saturday) but has seen a drop in attendance, helpful in “maintaining the recommended social distancing.” He added that his shop has always prioritized the “use of sanitizer at each gaming station as well as Clorox wipes for people to use to clean off themselves and their area of play.”

Mongerie said the best way people can support his business is by buying daily, monthly or yearly passes or merchandise from his website, www.indietorch.net/nerdtorchcafe.

Game Time Hobbies, located within the Executive Square Shopping Plaza, has been a destination for board, miniature, role-playing or trading games since August 2016. Their event space is temporarily closed but board-game sales are trending well, according to co-owner Drew McKay. They are open 5 to 8 p.m. on weekdays (except Tuesday) and 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

“Social distancing isn’t something works well for what we do, but we still are operating the retail portion of the business. We’re grateful for the community’s support the last four years and we look forward to continuing to meet their needs,” McKay said.

Each of these businesses are actively updating their social media pages with information. Follow them for more information and updates.

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