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‘While You Were Sleeping’: Late night bingo returns with new rules

Masks, hand sanitizer now part of the game

SAN ANTONIO – The numbers on the lucky balls at Ingram Late Night Bingo now share the spotlight with the numbers on the thermometer.

A security guard pays especially close attention to those, checking all players as they enter the hall.

“Temperature checks. We have to do temperature checks all the time,” said Michael Garcia who has been managing the bingo hall on the overnight shift for quite some time.

Ingram Late Night Bingo has games that last until the wee hours some nights.
Ingram Late Night Bingo has games that last until the wee hours some nights. (KSAT 12 News)

KSAT 12 News featured Garcia and the establishment last year, prior to the coronavirus pandemic.

At that time, the crew at the bingo hall near Loop 410 and Ingram Road was focused on making sure everyone had a good time and stayed awake through the games, which can run until 2 or 3 a.m. some nights.

With the business’ recent reopening after the quarantine, no one is gambling with safety.

A sign at the door now warns bingo players of the mask requirement.
A sign at the door now warns bingo players of the mask requirement. (KSAT 12 News)

The game rules now include using hand sanitizer and practicing social distancing.

Masks also are a must for almost everyone inside the hall.

“The (number) caller’s away from everyone. They’re not gonna be close so it just makes sense that they take off the mask so they say the numbers like that,” Garcia said.

Certain tables are off limits in order to allow players to practice social distancing.
Certain tables are off limits in order to allow players to practice social distancing. (KSAT 12 News)

Even at the overnight games, Garcia said, most of the customers seem to be taking the new rules in stride.

Bertina Woody said she was practicing her own form of social distancing even before the outbreak. She always chooses the table at the very back of the room.

“Usually, I have two tables,” she said. “But with COVID, everything is downsized.”

Woody said the late night bingo games are her temporary escape from everyday life.

As a single mom, she has few opportunities for entertainment.

“Usually it’s work and taking care of the kids,” Woody said. “Then I can get them situated and I can come to bingo and relax and have a good time.”

With the coronavirus remaining a threat, the staff is focused on offering a good and safe time to their customers.

That way, even if they don’t hit the jackpot, everyone can go home a winner.


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