Local businesses get creative
A month after closing by order of Gov. Kate Brown, Madras Cinema 5 is back open and offering "mystery movies," along with popcorn, drinks and candy. Instead of watching a movie at the theater, customers can take home a mystery DVD in the genre and rating they choose.
Manager Nate Wescott said his boss wanted to get as many people working as possible, and other theaters are doing similar things.
Theater staff take orders via social media, and when customers come to pick up the orders, gloved, masked employees bring the items out in a cart, which is disinfected when it is returned.
"It's good to be back at work, Wescott said, "but we're also constantly mindful of the safety of ourselves and those who visit us. There have been no issues with social distancing that we've noticed, and we encourage people to join us in looking weird by wearing masks and gloves!" Westcott said by email.
"The more we can normalize safety precautions around town, the better things will be for ourselves, our families and friends. No matter the circumstances, nobody lives in a perfect bubble — we'll beat this crisis by working together safely, and keeping reasonable standards of isolation when we are able to.
At 3 Peaks CrossFit, owner Melissa Smith was a few weeks ahead of the curve. She expected Gov. Kate Brown's announcement, and some of her athletes were already uncomfortable going to the gym.
"We actually created online workouts for them," Smith said. "My goal in this whole thing was thinking ahead as far as I could."
Now members are taking classes via Zoom, but Smith is just as concerned about their mental health as their physical health.
Sunday's workout, for example, was just as much mental and spiritual as it was physical.
Members were asked to write down three things they were grateful for, write about how they wanted to feel in the coming week, and go for an hour walk.
"This is rough," Smith said. "In general, not just our people, … people are struggling with the unknown. I think that's why it's so important for us to provide an opportunity and to give them consistency in some respect."
One of 3 Peaks' coaches encouraged Kimberly Hannon at Unique Performing Arts to take her classes online.
She and choreographer Jamie LePhew were clueless, Hannon said, but Mandy Gunn helped them learn the platform.
They've implemented a student of the month, where the student gets a sign and balloons in their yard.
"We have not lost any of our members on our competitive teams," Hannon said.
And now the students are performing in virtual competitions ... and winning. The groups have taken first overall in several contests, and solo dancers are placing in top spots, too.
"Everybody gets to watch the kids and gather around the computer, which has helped motivate our team kids," Hannon said.
Without Zoom and the support of LePhew and Gunn, she wouldn't be in business, Hannon said.
Neither she nor LePhew are taking a salary, but the Zoom classes are keeping the lights on.
"One thing that is really surprising is that nobody is here to bail anybody out of this," Hannon said. "It is up to each one of us as a business owner, positive-minded, to work through this."
Dance Arts Unlimited has also taken classes online.
"We are using Google Classroom," said owner Sunmiet Maben. "Each teacher was able to put together videos for their classes. This allows the dancers to access the videos when it is convenient for them.
"There have also been some Zoom classes, so the teachers can interact with the dancers," Maben said. "Since we are still not able to gather, I think more Zoom classes will happen, since everyone is missing each other."
Time for a reset
At Madras Bowl & Pizza, the bowling balls have all been sanitized, and the machines are turned off for now.
But pizzas are still being made, and owner Christie Bouvia decided to add delivery, something she'd been contemplating for some time.
"Everybody's laid off," Bouvia said. She, her husband, Michael, and her daughter, Jenni Young are making and delivering the pizzas. "We're volunteering."
She is most concerned about keeping her employees healthy, and she gave them the option to be laid off right away so they could collect unemployment payments.
While coping with COVID-19 restrictions has been difficult, Bouvia said she hasn't had this much time off in 32 years.
"The attitude I've taken on this whole thing is it's a reset," Bouvia said. "And maybe reset our priorities a little bit. You've got to look at the good. It is what it is."
She and Young have been talking about how this time compares to the Great Depression.
"People just need to be patient and have some grace for each other," Bouvia said. "Everybody's doing everything that they can be doing. I am very aware — and this is just me — that we need to protect our older generation. ... They raised us. They put their lives on hold for us. It's our turn to put our lives on hold for them."
"They would do it for us in a heartbeat," Young said. "Why would we not do it for them?"
MadTown Fitness is using the closure to repaint.
"We're creating the best experience for our customers that we can even while we're off," said owner Joe Robbins. "With as busy as the gym is, we would never have time to do this."
He's looking forward to having the gym full again.
"Hopefully we'll all get back to it soon," he said.
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