After Gov. Kim Reynolds’ proclamation on Tuesday, March 17, recreational facilities including fitness centers and theaters were instructed to temporarily close their doors. This is part of the state of Iowa’s attempt to encourage social distancing in order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Now, these recreational facilities are thinking outside the box on how they can continue to reach out to the local community.


“I am hopeful that our community will stand tall and support each other over the next few weeks until this passes, thus minimizing the economic effect,” Tiger Rock Martial Arts Academy Director Nathan Wood said. “Nobody wants to see their neighbor or their favorite businesses suffer. Try to support your local businesses the best you can while being responsible with health and safety.”


For some recreational facilities, such as The Palms Theatres & IMAX, staying open remotely was not a possibility. The theatre has instead temporarily closed its location, with the hope that business will return to normal after the threat of COVID-19 has lifted.


“We hope business returns to normal after the forced closure, but unfortunately movie studios have pulled many of the major movies set to be released through May,” Russell Vannorsdel, Vice President of R.L. Fridley Theatres, Inc. said. “We were taking significant steps to sanitize and clean, but inherently there was still a little risk. The forced closure of the theatre will help slow the spread of COVID-19. Now there will be very, very little risk.”


The Waukee Family YMCA also posted on their Facebook page that while there had been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at any local facility, they have decided to close their six membership branches through March 31 in order to help slow the spread of the virus.


On the other hand, fitness centers such as Krave Gym in Waukee, are looking to technology for alternative methods to reach out to their local members. The gym is currently utilizing their already existing remote programming in order to allow athletes to work out right in the comfort of their own home. This not only includes live-streaming home workouts but also training with the team via video chat.


“We believe that it is extremely important to stay connected and active during times like these,” Waukee Krave Gym Head Coach Dan Hupke said. “In unprecedented times like these, there is definitely a level of uncertainty, confusion, and fear. But at Krave Gym, we regularly advocate for the importance of living like an athlete, which includes being a part of a bigger team, your community.”


Adel Family Fun Center Owner Bryce Smith said that spring break is typically a very busy week for his business. That coupled with the final weeks of bowling leagues taking place around the second week of April, the establishment is only able to bring in about 30 percent of their total revenue by using their full kitchen and menu to offer food for carry-out.


“Our bowling center and many other recreational facilities are vital to connecting people together. From bowling leagues to birthday parties, our passion lies with bringing people together to make memories,” Smith said. “Our goal is that through this proclamation we will see a decrease in the spread of COVID-19 and our communities will return stronger than ever.”


The State of Public Health Disaster Emergency issued by Gov. Reynolds not only affected recreational facilities but also local businesses such as restaurants, gatherings of more than 10 people, casinos and more.


“We have been blessed in just the recent days with an amazing community checking in, ordering food to go and making sure small local businesses are thought of first. I couldn’t be more proud of our community and we get through our toughest challenges together,” Smith said.