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Safety Standards and Checklist: Arcades and Other Indoor and Outdoor Game and Recreation Businesses

Reopening Phase III mandatory safety standards, recommended best practices and a checklist for Arcades and Other Indoor and Outdoor Game and Recreation Businesses. EFFECTIVE: March 1, 2021

These sector specific COVID-19 workplace safety standards for Arcades and Other Indoor and Outdoor Game and Recreation Businesses are issued to provide owners and operators of these enterprises and workers and customers with instructions to help protect against the spread of COVID-19. Other recreation businesses involving outdoor activities such as hiking, rafting, and sports should refer to appropriate EEA guidance. Indoor arts and entertainment venues, including movie theaters, comedy clubs, and live performance venues, should refer to theater and performance venue guidance, available on the Reopening Plan website.

These standards are minimum requirements only and are not exclusive or exhaustive. The public health data for disease prevention that inform these guidelines can and does change frequently. Each Arcade or Indoor or Outdoor Recreation Business operator is accountable for adhering to all local, state and federal requirements and is also responsible for staying abreast of any updates to these requirements.

Violation of these standards may result in civil fines of up to $500 per violation; provided that each individual instance of non-compliance and each day of a continuing violation may be fined as a separate violation.  Each person present over any capacity limit specified below may likewise be fined as a separate violation.

Facilities Permitted to Open to the Public

In accordance with  COVID – 19 Order no. 65 Advancing all Communities to Phase 3, Step 2 COVID -19 Safety Rules, indoor Recreation Businesses designated as a Phase 3 Step 2 enterprise may open.

Recreation Businesses

Step 1 of Phase 3

Step 2 of Phase 3

Batting cages, Driving Ranges, Bowling Alleys, Go- Karts, rock climbing



Indoor and Outdoor Arcades and associated games offered in other facilities including video games, Skeeball, basketball shot and similar ball

– throwing games, Ping Pong, Pool and Billiards,

Air Hockey and coin- operated games of skill and chance



Roller Skating rinks, Trampolines, Obstacle Courses, and Laser Tag, Escape Rooms



Ball Pits (Phase IV, Step 2)



Table of Contents

Key Documents for Reopening

Linked below are three important documents:

  1. Workplace Safety Standards - Complete and official sector-specific standards for Arcades and Other Indoor and Outdoor Game and Recreation Businesses (all workplaces must also comply with the Mandatory Safety Standards for Workplaces)
  2. Protocol Summary - User friendly summary of the standards and best practices
  3. Checklist - Printable tool to help businesses perform the required self-certification for opening and ensure compliance with the sector-specific standards 

Social Distancing and Capacity Limits


  • Require face coverings for all workers and customers, except where unsafe due to medical condition or disability
  • Each business must monitor customer entries and exits and limit occupancy at all times to the greater of the following:
    • 50% of the building’s maximum permitted occupancy as documented in its occupancy permit on record with the municipal building department or other municipal record holder
    • Buildings for which no permitted occupancy limitation is on record may allow up to 10 persons per 1,000 square feet of accessible, indoor space
    • In any case, no dedicated gaming area within a larger facility and no enclosed space within the building shall exceed occupancy of 10 persons per 1,000 square feet
  • Activities involving organized social events, such as birthday parties, must follow the Safety Standards for Indoor and Outdoor Events, including applicable occupancy limitations.
  • Competitive leagues must follow the Safety Standards for Youth and Adult Amateur SportsActivities.
  • All occupant counts and calculations shall include customers but may exclude staff and other workers
  • Post clearly visible signage regarding the need to maintain 6 feet of social distancing and not to enter a room until that distancing can be maintained
  • Ensure separation of 6 feet or more between individuals where possible:
    • Close or reconfigure worker common spaces and high density areas where workers are likely to congregate to allow social distancing. Employers are encouraged to close break rooms or limit their use.
    • Physical partitions must separate workstations that cannot be spaced out (partitions must be at least 6 feet in height)
    • Install physical barriers for checkout stations where possible, otherwise maintain 6 feet distance where not possible
    • Install visual social distancing markers to encourage customers to remain 6 feet apart (e.g., lines to enter the building, lines for equipment if applicable, checkout lines, lines to use the restroom)
    • Mark rooms and hallways to indicate 6 feet separation
    • Spectators and other non-participants must wear facial coverings and maintain 6 feet of social distance from participants
  • Stagger lunch and break times, regulating max number of workers in one place and ensuring at least 6 feet of physical distancing
  • Establish directional pathways to manage visitor flow for foot traffic, to minimize contact (e.g., one-way entrance and exit to rooms / recreation areas, one-way pathways). Post clearly visible signage regarding these policies
  • Reconfigure seating / recreation areas to ensure 6 feet distancing between customers not in the same group
    • Distance shall be measured from the closest boundary of one customer recreation area to the closest boundary of another customer recreation area
  • Operational arcade games must be spaced to maintain a minimum of 6 feet distance between games
    • Multi-player games must be configured to permit 6 feet of distance between players at all times except that members of the same household may play games in closer proximity
    • If the required distancing cannot be maintained between playing positions, games or gaming positions must be closed
  • Limit group sizes for group activities or group bookings to no more than 10 people
  • Contactless payment methods and / or digital ticketing are encouraged
  • Encourage the use of electronic versions or no-touch displays in place of commonly touched physical materials (such as menus and pricing brochures) where possible. All commonly touched physical materials must be discarded or sanitized between use
  • Any self-serve equipment or other physical materials should be removed, and instead all materials must be handed out individually by employees

Hygiene Protocols

  • Ensure access to handwashing facilities on site, including soap and running water, wherever possible and encourage frequent handwashing; alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol may be used as an alternative
  • Supply workers at workplace location with adequate cleaning products (e.g., sanitizer, disinfecting wipes)
  • Post visible signage throughout the site to remind workers of hygiene and safety protocols
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol shall be made available at entrances, exits and throughout floor areas for both workers and customers
  • Avoid sharing equipment and supplies between workers
  • Disinfect shared equipment between uses by customers or workers
  • Prohibit any mutual touching of customer or worker equipment without sanitation between uses
  • Require that any equipment that cannot be disinfected between use to be removed from service for 24 hours before it can be used by another customer

Staffing and Operations


  • Provide training to workers on up-to-date safety information and precautions including hygiene and other measures aimed at reducing disease transmission, including:
    • Social distancing, hand-washing, proper use of face coverings
    • Self-screening at home, including temperature and symptom checks
    • Importance of not coming to work if ill
    • When to seek medical attention if symptoms become severe
    • Which underlying health conditions may make individuals more susceptible to contracting and suffering from a severe case of the virus
  • Facilities must screen workers at each shift by ensuring the following:
    • Worker is not experiencing any symptoms such as fever (100.0 and above) or chills, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, fatigue, headache, muscle/body aches, runny nose/congestion, new loss of taste or smell, or nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
    • Worker has not had “close contact” with an individual diagnosed with COVID-19. “Close contact” means living in the same household as a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, caring for a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, being within 6 feet of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more, or coming in direct contact with secretions (e.g., sharing utensils, being coughed on) from a person who has tested positive for COVID-19
    • Worker has not been asked to self-isolate or quarantine by their doctor or a local public health official
    • Workers who fail to meet the above criteria must be sent home
  • Adjust workplace hours and shifts (leverage working teams with different schedules or staggered arrival / departure) to minimize contact across workers and reduce congestion at entry point
  • Maintain a log of workers and visitors to support potential contact tracing (name, date, time, contact information)
  • Businesses are encouraged to offer exclusive hours or other accommodations for those in high- risk populations as defined by the CDC
  • Workers who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 according to the Centers for Disease Control (e.g., due to age or underlying conditions) are encouraged to stay home
  • Limit worker movement to discrete work zones to minimize overlap where possible
  • Workers shall not appear for work or complete a shift if feeling ill
  • Workers are strongly encouraged to self-identify symptoms or any close contact to a known or suspected COVID-19 case to the employer
  • Encourage workers who test positive for COVID-19, to disclose to the employer of the office for purposes of cleaning / disinfecting and contact tracing. If the employer is notified of any positive case at the workplace, the employer must immediately notify the local Board of Health (LBOH) in the city or town where the workplace is located. Employers must assist the LBOH with contact tracing efforts, including advising likely contacts to isolate and self-quarantine. Testing of other workers may be recommended consistent with guidance and / or at the request of the LBOH
  • Post notice to workers and customers of important health information and relevant safety measures as outlined in the Commonwealth’s Mandatory Safety Standards for Workplace
  • Businesses should maintain operating hours that allow for on-going off-hour sanitation and cleaning
  • Limit visitors and service providers on site; shipping and deliveries should be completed in designated areas
  • Stagger activity / event times / encourage reservations (such as for bowling lanes) to avoid congregation of customers in different groups and to allow for thorough cleaning of the activity space (e.g., seating areas or tables) before new customers arrive
  • Encourage advanced reservations and digital ticketing where possible
  • For group activities, like bowling and dart throwing, do not combine persons or small groups with other non-related or non- associated persons or small groups
  • Additional on-site amenities and services may only open and operate when those amenities or services would otherwise be authorized to operate under the Commonwealth’s Phased Reopening Plan and then must adhere to all sector-specific safety protocols, available on the Reopening Plan website, applicable to the amenity or service. Examples include:
    • Restaurants: Must follow the latest restaurant guidelines and food may only be provided for seated table service or take-out, and may not be served or consumed in active playing areas
    • Gift shops: Must follow the latest retail guidelines
    • Pools: Must follow the latest pool guidelines
    • Arts and entertainment: Must follow the latest performance arts guidance
    • Bars: Must remain closed until Phase 4, Step 2

Cleaning and Disinfecting

  • Clean commonly touched surfaces in restrooms (e.g., toilet seats, doorknobs, stall handles, sinks, paper towel dispensers, soap dispensers) frequently and in accordance with CDC guidelines
  • Arcade games must be cleaned as frequently as possible between player turnover, and at regular intervals of no less than 4 hours
  • Conduct frequent cleaning and disinfection of site (at least daily and more frequently if feasible)
  • Keep cleaning logs that include date, time, and scope of cleaning
  • Conduct frequent disinfecting of heavy transit areas and high-touch surfaces (e.g., doorknobs, bathrooms, table tops, ticket counters, staff break rooms)
  • In event of a positive case, follow current CDC guidance on cleaning and disinfecting areas when someone has a COVID-19 diagnosis
  • Open windows and doors to increase air flow where possible
  • Disinfect all recreation equipment and other objects distributed to customers (e.g., golf putters, pool cues, etc.) immediately when returned after each use. Shared equipment provided to customers may not be re-distributed without first being disinfected according to CDC guidelines
  • Disposable wipes should be placed next to each piece of equipment that cannot be returned to staff (e.g., pool tables, dart boards, arcade games) for disinfecting. Customers are encouraged to wipe down equipment before and after use in addition to frequent disinfection by staff
  • If sanitation (or the monitoring thereof by employees) of any piece of equipment is not possible or practical, this equipment should be closed off
Last updated: February 25, 2021