Digital A1 Escape Room 3

The owners of Athens' Escape the Space have created digital, at-home escape room experiences. (Photo/Caroline Barnes)

The process of building an escape room requires attention to detail and plenty of adrenaline-pumping features. For Escape the Space owners Alicia and Andrew Brasher, COVID-19 isn’t stopping them from bringing the heart-racing experience to their escape room fans at home.

The Brashers are taking COVID-19 precautions seriously with sanitation, social distancing and following community health measures for their current in-person escape rooms. The owners include many visual social distancing aids, such as markers guiding the guests through the rooms at a safe distance and only allowing one group in a room at a time instead of multiple.

“We want to start offering things to the community with COVID-19 in mind by putting effort into our facility for extra sanitation and safety,” Andrew Brasher said. “Now, we want to make the facility an escape for people right now.”

One of their recently featured escape room arrangements is their new online service via Zoom which launched in April. By hosting the game on Zoom, guests can have a “first-person experience” where they see Andrew Brasher’s hands in front of them as if they were their own, Alicia Brasher said. They then give commands for the next action while another person is on the Zoom call monitoring everything.

“It’s not a common practice right now,” Andrew Brasher said. “You tell the person on the other side of the Zoom, ‘look to your left’ or ‘look to your right,’ and it’s all happening in real-time so they can still solve the puzzles.”

The Brashers found comfort in using Zoom because many of their customers are using it for other work or school related purposes. They wanted to use a program that wouldn't require them to educate the public on how to use it, Alicia Brasher said.

The first Zoom room took place in early April once Gov. Brian Kemp enacted the stay-at-home order. The Brashers’ rearranged the office space in their home and built a room from scratch. It took multiple days of testing the room to make it as similar to Escape the Space as possible, Andrew Brasher said.

After six years of operating in person, the Brashers found a whole new side of their business during COVID-19. With a face-to-face escape room, guests have the opportunity to meet new people, laugh and enjoy those fun moments. Alicia and Andrew Brasher wanted to take that experience online, but they were originally worried about the barrier until they received feedback.

“When we first saw the feedback, we were 100% shocked,” Andrew Brasher said. “The clients kept telling us how they had no idea how we were able to make the online experience so similar to the in-person one.”

Another benefit of the online feature is location is not an issue. Escape the Space recently had different groups from London, New York City and California get together and play one of the live escape rooms, Andrew Brasher said.

Aside from the Zoom escape rooms, Escape the Space provides other services which are available at any time, such as scavenger hunts around downtown Athens and printable escape room puzzles for an easy, stay-at-home option, Alicia Brasher said.

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