Unique quarantine birthdays force a decline in revenue for party businesses

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Safiya Loomba

Party supply businesses struggle through the pandemic and absence of birthday celebrations.

Safiya Loomba, Staff Reporter

The new social distancing and isolation in the pandemic has inspired new ways to celebrate birthdays. From Zoom calls to small outdoor gatherings, celebrations have changed dramatically. Sophomore Morgan Patch rented a movie theater to celebrate. She had friends and family join her for a total of seven attendees.

 

“Being back in a movie theater, being able to be away from home was also super nice and there was a sense of normalcy,” Patch said.

 

Cinemark Theatres allows people to rent out theaters that are COVID-19 safe. Employees ask that customers wear masks outside of the rented area; however, once inside, one can unmask. Patch says that celebrating at a movie theatre made her day feel more special, in a time when the days feel monotonous. 

 

“I thought it was really fun. It was cool because like just us and like family friends so it was nice … [to] obviously be back in a movie theater, being able to be away from home was also super nice and in some senses there was like a sense of normalcy” Patch said.

 

Junior Megan Liebhaber had a similarly unique and exciting birthday in quarantine that was COVID-19 safe, with it being a celebration that did not require a structured get-together.

 

“My friends came over at like 11 o’clock at night, and they vandalized my house with birthday decorations. Then, I chased them around the street because they were trying to hide from me,” Liebhaber said.

 

This out-of-the-box celebration allowed for Liebhaber to be the center of attention and spend the day without the risk of contracting COVID-19. Liebhaber also mentioned that she celebrated COVID-19 safe birthdays for her friends, including a socially distanced beach picnic and taking pictures. They had a nice outing and had a chance to get outdoors for a celebration. 

 

These unique birthdays, while fitting in a pandemic, have hurt businesses who rely on traditional celebrations. The popular children’s party place, Pump It Up, has had a very hard time reviving their business amid the pandemic. 

 

“The business has pretty much been shut down since March of 2020 …  so it is one of the worst affected businesses … We’re not allowed to open or operate at all since it is indoor entertainment, which involves more than one family, and enjoying, and coming in,”  business manager Sweti Gupta said.

 

Pump It Up tried to adapt to the circumstances by exploring other facets of the party industry like supplying party supplies to gatherings; however, they realized people would probably resort to Amazon instead. They are still working to discover alternatives and persevere. 

 

Overall people are continuing to find safe ways to celebrate whether that includes finding ways to support their favorite local businesses or hanging out with friends creatively.