The concept of “normal” has been turned on its head during this pandemic crisis. When we do go back to work, reopen schools, businesses, and entertainment venues, what will “normal” look like? Some people are even referring to it as the “new normal,” which seems like a conflicted phrase because how could something that is normal be new, and vice versa?

As California reopens, we all have to ask ourselves, “What is normal for me?” If you don’t feel safe going into a restaurant yet, that’s your normal. Many people are picking up on the mantra, “Reopen, but be safe and be smart” and patronize businesses that adhere to health and safety guidelines.

Monterey’s two exciting escape rooms are open again, albeit with strict sanitary and social distancing plans in place. And the way you social distance in an escape room is by doing it with people you’ve been quarantining with or close friends and family you have been in physical contact with during shelter in place. No strangers or random people will be in the room with your group.

That’s Safety Precaution #1 of the five ways escape rooms can operate safely during this pandemic:

1. No mixed-player games

All games are private. Groups are limited to family members and close friends in order to limit the possible spread. All players must be known to the group before entering the room to play.

2. Disinfect game rooms after each game

Each room will be thoroughly cleaned by our employees, especially all hard surfaces that have heavy use, such as doorknobs, tabletops, locks and keys after every game.

3. Restrooms cleaned after every use

All customer restrooms will be cleaned after each use by a member of our staff, following all official guidelines for cleaning public spaces.

4. Customers are required to wash their hands and we provide sanitizer on-site

We will require all customers to wash or sanitize their hands prior to entering the room. There are hand-sanitizing stations in place for customer and employee use.

5. Bring your patience, be smart, be safe and have fun

We will all get through this together by working together, so patience and courtesy go a long way. The bottom line is be safe, be smart, follow the rules and have fun! This is about fun and bringing that mindset will help all of us.

Monterey has two escape rooms to choose from — Escape Room 831 on Lighthouse Avenue in New Monterey and Exodus Escape Room on Cannery Row — founded by entrepreneurs Christina and Barrie Riddoch of Monterey.

Escape Room 831 and Exodus Escape Room are following all guidelines for safety issued by local, state and national officials. In fact, we intend to go above and beyond guidelines to be extra vigilant to make you feel safe and secure inside our doors.

Call us at (831) 241-6616, for more information, go to escaperoom831.com, or send an email and we can answer further questions. Escape Room 831 is located at 599 Lighthouse Avenue, in Monterey.

Exodus Escape Room is at 765 Wave St., Suite A2, in Monterey.

Call 831-324-0513 or go to https://exodusescaperoom.com/monterey.