Interactive playhouse using technology to meet social distancing standards

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Entertainment venues are still closed under the governor’s order, hitting local companies hard. One company is using technology to make sure customers follow social distancing guidelines.

Electric Playhouse was only open for six weeks before the coronavirus pandemic shut it down. They said they are redesigning the experience to make sure people who come to play are doing so safely. Their new games are designed to keep people apart with zero-touch.

With 18,000 sq. ft. of playing space, founder John-Mark Collins said they are able to adapt to new COVID-safe practices well. “We didn’t plan for a pandemic in terms of design, but it is something we have that is a differentiator in terms of finding a safe place to play with your family,” Collins said.

Collins uses custom software to create games, tracking peoples’ motion, and keeping players as far away as possible.

“The software allows us to hit the requirements exactly or beyond,” Collins said. “Here, we can coordinate it exactly as opposed to letting people follow their vices and get too close or not know the bounds.”

They have also put up nets and are limiting families to one hour of play when they are allowed to reopen. “Only your family can play one game for a little while then rotate out with another family,” Collins said. “It allows us to have a little bit of better flow and sanitize in between. We really do have a staged experience now which before was maybe a little more free form.”

Collins said he is ready to debut their new approach. “I think people can have, maybe even, a better time than they did before while also being safer and cleaner,” Collins said. He says during the pandemic, their sales are down to almost zero, and he has had to lay off most of his staff. He is hopeful they will be allowed to be fully operational by the middle of June.

Meow Wolf said it has also begun a series of upgrades, sanitizing the entire exhibition and creating new themes. Meow Wolf said they will announce more social distancing policies and contact-free ways to purchase tickets, check-in, and enjoy the exhibition closer to their opening date.

New Mexico Coronavirus Resources

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