Billiards & COVID-19
Billiard games have been gathering people together since the 15th century. Today with the surge of a global pandemic, many of us are missing those simple pleasures we once took for granted: meeting your friends at a bar or restaurant, going to a concert, having people over to your house for a game night. It reaffirms appreciation for all those spaces of gathering that are now closed.
Many small businesses are suffering, even going out of business due to the economic hardship of this time, and pool halls are not immune. A once popular business model, pool halls have seen drastic decline over the past few decades. In Chicago, for example, there were 830 pool halls in 1915; today, there are only 10. With the effect of COVID-19, market research predicts even more closures of these once beloved communal places, as well as bars and restaurants.
With social distancing, there is an increased desire for leisure activities and entertainment in the home. Pool tables and game tables of all kinds can provide activity, relaxation, and gathering for family and friends. But with COVID and social distancing, how can you safely share your game tables with others?
Here are some important things to consider:
Playing Pool with your Household
Playing billiards games in your home with your family, or your “household” (people you are socially distantancing with) is as safe as sharing any of your other spaces or material items. Those you live with or are intentionally socially distancing with can play together with no increased risk of spreading or contracting COVID-19. It is still important to regularly sanitize your cue sticks, pool balls, and the hard edges of your table. You can do this with any commercial sanitizing wipe or spray. (Do not spray the felt or wool on the top of your table with sanitizer. To clean the top of your pool table, follow these instructions).
Playing with Pool VisitorsAs restrictions lift for social distancing in many cities, more people are gathering with people outside their household. In many states, it is permissible to gather up to 10 people in your home (check your local government health department websites for official laws and regulations). Of course, if you or someone you are in contact with is high risk, it is strongly recommended that you do not invite anyone outside your household into your space. If you are going to invite small groups of visitors into your home, it is important to take extra precautions when using your billiards table:
- Sanitize: Before and after playing, sanitize your pool table and supplies, including balls, cues, chalk wrapping, and edges of your table.
- Wash your hands thoroughly before and after playing. CDC defines thorough hand washing as at least 20 seconds long with warm water, making sure to clean all parts of the hand including between fingers and under fingernails.
- Avoid Sharing: Make sure you have enough cues so that friends do not need to share sticks during the game. This will reduce risk of spreading germs to one another.
- 6 ft Apart: Pool is a great game to play in the age of social distancing because it does not require you to get in close proximity with other players. You can maintain 6 feet of distance between one another if your space is big enough. You should also wear face masks, especially if your space is small and it is not possible to maintain at least 6 feet of distance at all times.
- Ventilation: it is safest to be around others in well-ventilated spaces. If possible, open up windows in your space, or you can even move your pool table to a covered space outside, and purchase a weather-proof pool table cover.
Purchasing game tables for your home can be a great way to create spaces of leisure and relaxation in a time of social distancing; and there are serious considerations to take to ensure that your game tables are promoting health, not putting you at risk. We hope this post helps you consider safety measures needed to keep you and your community safe and healthy!