Escape Now Houston closes in midst of coronavirus outbreak with hopes of reopening

Social distancing measures have cause local businesses to take a hit financially. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Social distancing measures have cause local businesses to take a hit financially. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Social distancing measures have cause local businesses to take a hit financially. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Following the week of March 9, when traffic was only about half of what business would be during a typical Cy-Fair spring break, things at Escape Now Houston at 13243 Jones Road, Houston, only got worse, according to co-owner Geraldine Roddie.

She opened the escape room alongside her husband, Mike Roddie, in May 2016, but on March 19, they closed their doors “semipermanently.” Since news of the coronavirus spread progressively, she said people have canceled their plans to participate in the company’s escape room challenges.

“We’ve canceled so many bookings in the last couple of days, so everything that was booked has been canceled,” Roddie said in a phone interview March 19. “We’re not shocked by it, but obviously we have no income coming in.”

Hours had already been significantly reduced for her seven employees, but she said she was disappointed to let the staff know about the closure. The team included two high school students and several others who were out of college, she said.

Roddie said the lease for the business was up later this month, and as of March 19, a renewal had not been signed. While she said she did not want to walk away from the business, she was waiting to negotiate with the landlord.


“At the end of the day, we can’t just keep paying rent when there’s no income,” she said. “We’ve reached out to cut costs where we can [with suppliers], but obviously the biggest one is rent.”

Roddie said she was hopeful to get a break from her landlord and potentially government-funded small-business assistance to be able to install a new room during the temporary closure period.

“We could use that to reopen and carry on, but it’s just all so up in the air,” she said. “The main thing is to say, we’ve built up the business, and we felt like it has been really successful. I feel bad for the employees because I know some of them are basically paying bills for their families, but I just don’t know what else to do. Laying them off means they can go get unemployment, and so hopefully that helps.”

832-220-5948. escapenowhouston.com
By Danica Smithwick
Danica joined Community Impact Newspaper as a Cy-Fair reporter in May 2016 after graduating with a journalism degree from Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. She became editor of the Cy-Fair edition in March 2020 and continues to cover education, local government, business, demographic trends, real estate development and nonprofits.


MOST RECENT

Under guidelines from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, day care centers, bars and entertainment venues—including bowling alleys and bingo parlors—were allowed to reopen a limited occupancy May 22. (Community Impact staff)
Harris County coronavirus count: Officials confirm 469 new cases over Memorial Day weekend

Under guidelines from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, day care centers, bars and entertainment venues—including bowling alleys and bingo parlors—were allowed to reopen a limited occupancy May 22.

The Jersey Village Community Swimming Pool will reopen May 30 under its regular operating hours after being closed since late March due to the coronavirus. (Staff photo)
Jersey Village to reopen city pool May 30

The Jersey Village Community Swimming Pool will reopen May 30 under its regular operating hours after being closed since late March due to the coronavirus.

Cy-Fair doctors see drop in patients, prompting concerns about medical issues going unaddressed

The drop in appointments is also causing long-term financial concerns for some doctors.

The local nonprofit has sewn and donated thousands of masks since the COVID-19 pandemic began. (Courtesy Helping Hands Ladies of Cypress)
Helping Hands Ladies of Cypress produces, distributes over 4,500 face masks

As of May 22, they had produced 4,524 washable masks complete with HEPA filters as an added safety measure.

Souq International Markets will open its new Katy-area location soon. (Susan Rovegno/Community Impact Newspaper)
ROUNDUP: Memorial Day business updates from the Houston area

Read some of the latest business news from the Greater Houston area on Community Impact Newspaper’s website.

Houston's unemployment rate hit a record high at 14.2%, leaving more than 450,000 workers unemployed. (Matt Dulin/Community Impact Newspaper)
Greater Houston area sees record-breaking unemployment rate in April at 14.2%

The previous high for the Greater Houston area's unemployment rate was set in January 2010 at 8.7%.

Harris County homeowners who are age 65 or older or who have disabilities can expect property tax relief this year in the form of expanded property tax exemptions. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Harris County unanimously votes to increase homestead exemptions for seniors, the disabled

Harris County homeowners who are age 65 or older or who have disabilities can expect property tax relief this year in the form of expanded property tax exemptions.

Houston ISD interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said she is exploring multiple options for the 2020-21 school year. (Screnshot via HISD TV)
Longer school days and more: Top stories from this week in Houston

Read the most popular stories covering the Greater Houston area from this week on Community Impact Newspaper’s website.

National study predicts June coronavirus spike in Houston area

New modeling suggests Harris County's lack of social distancing compliance may spur a surge in new cases.

texas-reopening
LIST: What is open, closed in Texas and how businesses can operate

Texas openings are staggered with different opening dates and operating limits.

Texas Medical Center has seen nearly a 26% increase in COVID-19 discharges over the past few weeks. (Courtesy Texas Medical Center)
Texas Medical Center reports continued week-over-week increases in COVID discharges, deaths; hospitalizations, ICU numbers remain steady

Texas Medical Center has seen nearly a 26% increase in COVID-19 discharges over the past few weeks.