Having fun while staying safe: That's what a laser tag center in Western New York is trying to balance in the midst of this pandemic.
After months of being in quarantine, many Western New Yorkers are now relieved to hear these words once again, "Welcome to the ultimate laser tag experience brought to you by LASERTRON."
LASERTRON in Amherst is back in business as the area continues to combat a health pandemic. The laser tag center closed in mid-March and got the all-clear to reopen in July. Since then, it's been a bit of a slow go.
"Our biggest income generator during the summertime are the youth camps and group events and not being able to do those has definitely impacted sales. We're definitely looking forward to better times," said Lawrence LaClair, marketing manager for LASERTRON.
He said each weekend, things start to pick up more and more.
But in the meantime, LASERTRON is making sure their guests are safe. Before you even walk inside the facility, you'll notice signs showing masks are required. Hand sanitizing stations and social distancing markers are placed throughout the building as well. If you want to get some rounds of laser tag in, you'll be briefed on the rules.
"The main rule in the arena right now is staying six feet apart from every other team," an employee told a group of players in the briefing room.
Since they're operating at 50% capacity, cyber sport sessions will only have six players at a time, and the laser tag arena will be limited to 24 players at a time.
"A 9,000 square-foot arena; that',s on average, 20 feet of social distancing between players when you map it out," said LaClair.
Games will be formatted to prevent players from gathering with other teams.
"The Battle Royale Squads, we have 15 sectors throughout the arena that they'll start out at with your squad, so in a reservation, you get to form your own teams of four," LaClair said. "So groups of four will be spread out throughout the arena and you won't be charging up at the same sector with the other players with the other squads, so we're naturally spreading out across the entire arena."
After each session, the laser tag vests are sanitized with a hospital grade neutral disinfectant and will also be wiped down with soap and water throughout the day.
If you want to get a bite to eat, it's recommended you take a seat at a table in the cafe area and order through a mobile ordering system. You won't have to wear a mask if you're sitting for the purpose of dining.
The staff says their guests have been receptive to these measures and have been eager to come back.
"I feel safe," said Claire Loewer of Clarence. "I feel protected, like I won't get the virus."
"It helps out with the boredom and being stuck at home, because I'm going to college soon and most of it's hybrid, so a lot of it's online," said Sam Roma of Williamsville, "so it means I'm stuck at home more, so it's nice to get out and have fun with the little things."
You can also find LASERTRON in the Rochester area.