Jersey Shore gets a boost as arcades reopen on boardwalks

Andrew Kramer
July 02, 2020 - 4:00 am
Inside of Jilly's Arcade in Ocean City, New Jersey

Andrew Kramer/KYW Newsradio

OCEAN CITY, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) Thursday is a big day down the shore as casinos and amusement parks are allowed to reopen in New Jersey. Not to get lost in the shuffle are arcades, which can open up again as well.

Randy Levchuk, director of operations at Jilly’s Arcade on the Ocean City Boardwalk, says his customers are well aware their doors have been closed. 

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“We’ve been getting phone calls nonstop since we shut down,” he said, “families looking to get their kids back in here, playing some games and just having a sense of normalcy to everything.”

It’s no surprise at this point that Jilly’s and other arcades are going to look different this summer. 

For starters, there will be less gamers inside as arcades open at limited capacity. 

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“We’re really going to be watching the number of people coming in and out of the arcade,” explained Levchuk. “We’re not going to be allowing people to come in from the back of the arcade, just off the boardwalk. That way, we can monitor it a lot closer and make sure we’re not going over what’s expected or what’s allowed.”

Then there are all the adjustments we’ve become accustomed to, such as masks, social distancing and hand sanitizing. 

“We’ve obviously put sanitizing stations throughout the arcade, we’ve marked the floor with 6 foot social distancing markers,” added Levchuk. “Certain machines, like the Skee-Ball machines that are really close to each other, we’re closing off every other alley.”

And he says they’ll be doing plenty of cleaning as well. 

“The chemical is 99.95% protective about killing any type of virus or anything like that,” said Levchuk. “We’ve sprayed the basketballs, the footballs, the Skee-Balls, you name it. Any area that can be touched by the patrons has been sprayed already.”

Levchuk is “really excited” to open, saying the boardwalk has not been the same without arcades. 

“To me, this place being closed, it’s not normal,” he said. “We’re normally (open) 24 hours a day in the summertime and being closed 24 hours instead of open 24 hours, I think it’s a big, mental toll for a lot of people that really use this place as a sense of getaway.”

Levchuk knows not everyone is going to feel comfortable coming to his or other arcades right away and hopes those people will at least come and look in from the outside so they can see the safety measures being taken for themselves.