How to operate VR attractions in a pandemic context?
There is no way to deny it, the pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus will change how many people interact with social entertainment. Customers will be pickier regarding sanitization processes and it’s our job, as VR operators, to make sure those procedures are transparent and efficient.
At VEX, we do not pretend to be experts in epidemics, in the spread of germs, or in hygiene. As a Location-Based VR operator and attractions provider, we wanted to share the experience, hygiene measures and advices we gathered from our own centers, operators and advisors around the world.
The cleaner the better
In a usual Location-Based VR operation, it is highly advised to clean before and after each customer. Moreover in a global pandemic context, take the time necessary to clean and sanitize your VR system thoroughly between each customer. Even if the operation will be a little bit slower, it’s worth it to ensure a proper sanitization and show your customers that you care about the process.
With the COVID-19 spread, there are multiple measures you can take to ensure the sanitation of your facility, here is a non-exhaustive list :
• Wipes: As always, use appropriate disinfectant wipes on VR headsets and controllers before and after each customer has been playing. Don’t forget about the inside of the headset, lenses included, but also earphones and head strap.
• Leather VR covers: If it’s not the case already, change the original foam covers, which absorbs a lot of sweat, with leather ones that can mitigate that aspect. These should not be punctured to not absorb customer’s sweat. Leather VR covers are easy to clean, and most of them attach easily through their included velcro system.
• Individual covers: If possible, and in addition to the measures described above, make use of individual VR covers. You can buy a large amount of reusable leather cover (described above) and before jumping into the VR experience, give each customer their own specific sanitized reusable leather cover they can easily put on their headset. Once they’re done, take it back and wash it with a disinfectant solution and air dry it overnight.
• UV-C Light: You can go the extra mile by incorporating a UV-C Light device, a germicidal medical-grade ultraviolet light machine, to increase your hygiene procedure effectiveness. Some products exist on the market specifically tailored to clean VR devices using this method. You can also use UV-C cabinets to sanitize your equipment and reusable covers.
• Employee equipment: Provide your employees with the necessary equipment: gloves, masks and/or face shields. While face-shields will not completely stop the spread of the virus, it will help to prevent exposure to infectious droplets.
Make a show out of it
In any case, whether you decide to incorporate these measures or not, you should put on a show. Most importantly, your cleaning procedure should be as transparent as possible.
• Let your employees clean headsets, controllers, doorknobs, light switches or everything susceptible to be touched. This should be done in front of the customers in order to reassure them.
• Make sure that there are plenty of sanitization supplies available throughout your center. Think about adding automatic hydroalcoholic gel dispensers or disinfectant wipes and encourage your customers to use them. Show them you care about the whole process.
• Leave cleaning products in clear view and make sure your employees use them regularly.
• Establish new social distancing measures with markings on the floor and transparent shield to ensure a safe distance between customers, but also with your employees.
• Install appropriate signage which will inform the guests on all systems in place. You can also hang posters with useful explanations on how to help prevent the spread of germs.
One final critical aspect will be your overall communication with your customers and with your own employees.
While the process must be transparent inside your facility, do not hesitate to advertise online all the measures put in place to ensure safe entertainment and thorough sanitization at your business. Make sure your potential customers are aware of those and that they’re explained clearly, you need to show your customer that you care.
Finally, the training of your staff is of the utmost importance. Communicate clearly to them why and how hygiene is an even higher priority than before.
• They should clean their hands often, as well as any potential touchable surface.
• They must respect social distancing measures put in place.
• Even if it takes more time than usual, they need to clean VR headsets and controllers thoroughly after every session.
VEX hygiene products
VEX provides its clients with different hygiene products including face shields, automatic hydroalcoholic gel dispensers, cleaning wipes, UV-C VR cleaner and other important pieces of information to ensure a safe return to operation.
Contact your sales representative in order to get more information.
Published on July 13th 2020