Indoor amusement centers not amused

Governor Cuomo’s state of emergency executive order has been in effect since March 7th, but some businesses are still waiting for a response on when they –might- be able to open.

Posted: Oct 13, 2020 6:19 PM
Updated: Oct 14, 2020 6:11 PM

Joe Belmonte started building an indoor amusement center called the Family Fun Factory in December of 2019. He tried to open the business to small private family functions, but was served a notice from the Oneida County Sheriff’s Department to cease all operations. He and his customers are getting tired of waiting for the government’s approval after hearing of other businesses like his being open.

"How is it that you guys are closed, but you know Sky Zone, Billy Bees, Apex in Carousel are all open?"\

Belmonte went to Destiny USA to see for himself, and came back with pictures of businesses like his open.

"Some of them have been open for weeks, so they’re operating, they’re conducting business, and not having any difficulties with outbreaks or COVID, or anything along those lines, so they’re proving that the system can be used."

The Governor’s executive orders aren’t allowing indoor amusement to open, even though there are other indoor venues, like casinos, open to the public.

"Point of contact is what we keep getting told is the reason why arcade games aren’t getting played, but point of contact is so much more substantially played at a casino than an arcade. When you look at the difference in the demographics. We simply just can’t understand that."

Belmonte has been in touch with State and local officials, but isn’t getting any answers on when he might be able to reopen.

"Enough is enough. You know we feel we should be able to open."

Empire State Development did respond after airing the news story. They say this type of amusement attraction "pose particular challenges and significant risks of COVID-19 transmission. In New York, we will continue to track the data and the science, and will make a decision on re-opening family and children’s amusement businesses when public health experts determine it is safe to do so.”

Their response also stated:  "It should be noted that the casinos that have reopened have state police officers on site and are highly regulated and do not have the same cleaning and disinfecting challenges that indoor family recreational/amusement businesses that are usually frequented by children have, as they have many touch points and poses a much higher COVID-19 transmission risk."

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