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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Mar. 18, 202001:55 PM EST

Event and entertainment facility worried about long-term closure

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Bravoz Entertainment Center given “no choice” but to close temporarily March 17.
by: Katie Garwood Staff Writer

David Zorn, owner of Bravoz Entertainment Center, noticed a dip in customers starting in early March.

Once coronavirus concerns reached the U.S., families felt less comfortable coming to Bravoz, a 40,000-square-foot venue that comprises a trampoline park, restaurant, arcade, mini bowling alley, laser tag and climbing wall.

After Mayor Lenny Curry mandated that businesses shouldn’t allow more than 50 people inside at a time, traffic dipped further, leading Zorn to close his facility March 17 until further notice.

“We had no choice but to close our doors,” Zorn said.

He and his wife, Laura, also own Pineapple Creative Boutique, a gift shop and do-it-yourself studio for home decor. That shop is still open, but has been impacted as well.

Bravoz is at 14985 Old St. Augustine Road. Pineapple Creative is at 12525 Philips Highway.

With two businesses that rely on people coming to the facility, Zorn said he’s concerned about the next few weeks and months.

Even after the virus subsides, he said he thinks it could still be a while until people are comfortable going to large enclosed spaces with crowds, like Bravoz.

Zorn said he always took cleanliness and sanitation seriously at Bravoz and he cleaned it to a standard he and his wife felt was clean enough for their three children. But he’s worried others will be leery.

“We’ve always operated in the sense that our kids would be safe and we knew others would be too,” Zorn said. “But getting that message out and conveying it and alleviating people's fears is not always easy.”

March is typically one of Bravoz’s busiest months, with spring break camps scheduled and more families coming in with time off from school.

All camps are canceled for spring break.

There are a few employees doing administrative work while Bravoz is closed, but nearly 60 part-time employees aren’t working.

Zorn said he’s unsure how long he can stay closed and still stay afloat. He applied for a Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan, which he said would help.

“It really depends on how long our business partners, our vendors, our landlords are willing to work with us as we get through this. There are thousands of local businesses in the same boat we are,” Zorn said.

“We’re all just going to have to come together. That's one of the big things we’re hoping comes out of this, is that our community realizes the need to support local businesses.”

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