SALISBURY (CBS) — In summers past the dings, bells, and flashing lights of Joe’s Playland would also be accompanied by the sounds of laughing children. This year, the hundred-year-old arcade in Salisbury still has not opened amid the pandemic.
“I mean, financially it’s devastating. This is our summer season and we make 70% of our revenue in the summer,” co-owner Dan Abdulla said.
Brothers and co-owners Dan and Fred Abdulla spent roughly $30,000 on COVID-19 safety measures in preparation for reopening in Phase 3.
“We bought plexiglass dividers that separate games that are really close to each other,” Fred said, “We have a sanitizing gun that has hospital-grade chemicals in it.”
Then, just days before their reopening, Governor Charlie Baker announced that arcades are only allowed to open in Phase 4, joining amusement parks and theme parks. Phase 4 does not begin until a COVID-19 vaccine is developed.
“We know there’s a lot of high touch areas in our business but that’s no different from a casino or a gym,” Dan said.
State Representative James Kelcourse held a zoom call with the Abdulla’s and Lt. Governor Karen Polito to discuss the fate of the arcade.
“She said that she would be looking into this a little bit further and we’re confident that the administration will take a closer look at it and will do everything they can to help Joe’s Playland,” Kelcourse said.
The Abdullas hope Governor Baker will now reconsider.
“If there’s more that he wants us to do, he can tell us. But, let us open and we’ll do what we have to,” Dan said.