Escape: Break Out Bendigo was forced to keep its doors closed longer than other regional businesses during the states snap lockdown. Photo: JONATHON MAGRATH

Breaking out of lockdown

June 18, 2021 BY

THE town’s first escape room has survived another lockdown and is ready to provide a fun, challenging experience again.

Suzanne Greene, manager of Break Out Bendigo, said she is keen to open the doors again and was frustrated about being one of the last businesses that could restart after the recent lockdown.

“Last year we were shut down for eight months throughout the worst of the pandemic,” she said. “We were one of the last to reopen, same as the gyms and other businesses like us.”

Ms Greene said a Facebook group of keen escape room owners across the state lobbied hard the government, which only resulted in the business getting a specific mention in restriction guidelines.

“We did open for two weeks last year during the big lockdown when we thought we were allowed to because we were putting ourselves in a category that we thought was where we fitted,” Ms Green said.

“A lot of government officials and departments had no idea what we were all about and they had all these misconstrued ideas, we had to try educate government departments and people about what low risk escape rooms really are.”

Ms Greene said it was “ludicrous” that escape rooms had to wait when the hospitality industry was reopened two weeks ago.

“It’s really frustrating to think that you can have a table of ten people actually sitting in a restaurant or pub dining together, yet we couldn’t have two to six players come through a game together,” she said.

“Even though they were all friends or family members, they weren’t allowed to do it in our premises.”

Break Out Bendigo had its biggest boom in summer after last year’s lockdown ended and staff are hoping for a similar response heading into winter holidays.

“After the big lockdown people were just starving for something different to do and we managed to fill that gap,” Ms Green said.