Amid a rise in cases of COVID-19 around the country, Voicebox Karaoke is temporarily shuttering five locations — including Fort Worth's West 7th-area lounge.
The private-suite karaoke venue opened in Crockett Row at West 7th in January 2020, but coronavirus forced it to close throughout the spring. It reopened in July with a mask mandate, improved HVAC system, microphone covers, and other safety protocols.
Yet, as cases and hospitalizations spike around the country, now is not the time for groups to gather in private suites to belt out their favorite cover songs, the company says.
“Even though the past months have proven that Voicebox can operate safely for guests and staff, our business cannot withstand understandably cautious municipal mandates and consumer mindsets. It’s just not the right time for doing what we do,” says Scott Simon, CEO and founder of Voicebox, in a release. “We have a duty to our employees, our guests, and our larger communities to stay closed until we can operate with 100 percent confidence."
Not all is lost for karaoke singers, though. Voicebox is launching a virtual karaoke experience that takes place over Zoom meetings.
Virtual Voicebox karaoke parties can accommodate up to 25 people each and offer thousands of songs to choose from, all controlled by a smartphone-turned-remote.
“We know this is a hard time for so many, which is why we created a way for people to come together and have fun,” Simon says. “With our physical locations closed, it was important for us to still power connections through song.”
Rolling out in time for holiday parties, end-of-year celebrations, winter happy hours, and stay-at-home precautions, Virtual Voicebox is intended to be another way for people to connect using modern technology.
Virtual Voicebox is offering a special introductory rate of $10 for a two-hour party (normally $20), including up to 25 people. The service is available for booking online now and is operating 19 hours a day, from 9 am-4 am. Pending availability, guests can book a same-day party.
"We are grateful to those who have trusted us with their safety and celebrations and can’t wait to reopen when it is responsible to do so," Simon says. "In the meantime, we hope our guests keep their spirits high with Virtual Voicebox while staying safe at home.”