This content is being provided for free as a public service to our readers during the coronavirus outbreak. Please support local journalism by subscribing to The Newton Kansan online at https://www.thekansan.com/subscribenow.
As more and more restrictions have been placed on public gatherings because of concerns with the COVID-19 outbreak, area entertainment venus are trying to navigate the landscape to stay in business.
Newton has two bars in town that are not either corporate owned or private clubs — Moxie Grill & Brew Pub, located on Old Main at Southwest 14th Street; and Jay’s Place, on North Main at Third Street.
Moxie is still opening, but co-owner Shannon Reed said that may not be the case for much longer.
“We’re waiting to hear what we should do,” Reed said. “We’re in the same boat as everyone else is. Right now, we’re restricted to crowds under 50, which is usually not a big deal until the summer, but the president is recommending no crowds larger than 10.”
Reed said the crowd Friday and Saturday was lower than normal. The establishment is normally closed on Sundays and Mondays. He said that time was used for some remodeling work.
Reed said one of the challenges was Monday and Tuesday are normal shopping days for food supplies. He said an emphasis was made on purchasing items that can be easily frozen in case of closure.
He also doesn’t know if he can stay open for carry out food orders.
Reed also owns a karaoke and D.J. business, with a number of bookings around the region. He said that also has been affected.
“The governor closed all the state casinos, and we had a $5,000 karaoke contest scheduled at one that was placed on hold,” Reed said.
Reed said one of his partners owns a bar in Wichita, where the doormen went to clickers to keep the crowd under the specified limits there.
While Moxie does book musical acts, Reed said if the club stays open, it may not be able to book anything beyond a DJ or karaoke.
The Chisholm 8 Theatre, located in the Chisholm Trail Shopping Center near the corner of Southeast 36th St. and South Kansas Ave., is still open for business, but are abiding by the governor’s restrictions of no more than 50 people per theater.
The venue has eight screens.
“We’ve been stepping up by doing more deep cleaning,” said manager Kevin Hudson. “We’ve been doing cleaning more often. We just ask people who are not feeling well to stay away until under the guidelines set down. We welcome them back when they are feeling better.”
Hudson said one complication the theater is facing is the major studios have pushed back a number of new releases until later in the year.
“We’re still going to have new movies showing,” Hudson said. “They may be movies that have already been released that we haven’t shown yet.”
A number of theaters in Wichita have closed, including the Regal chain (most operating under the Warren name) and the AMC Theaters.
Play-Mor Lanes in Newton is still open, but restricting capacity to 50 people.
“We’re on the borderline right now,” co-owner Danella Schmidt said. “We haven’t completely decided. We haven’t talked to most of the leagues yet. We’d like to allow the leagues to go on if they want to. We may close it those outside the leagues, but we haven’t made a final decision.”
Most of the leagues are in the final weeks of the season, expecting to be finished by April.
Schmidt said the alley may still offer food service during league play, but close down the dining area.
The Sand Creek Station golf course in Newton remains open, subject to restrictions of no groups larger than 50 and no more than 50 people in the clubhouse at any one time.
Manager Chris Touhey said no events have been postponed or canceled at this time.
The Eastgate Lanes bowling alley closed March 15 until further notice “in compliance with Governor DeWine's orders. We will update as the situation progresses.”
The Newton YMCA, as well as the entire Greater Wichita YMCA, is closed with the exception of Spring Break Camps and the Early Learning Centers.
The Newton Activity Center is closed through March 22, and officials there will re-evaluate whether to open or continue to remain close.
NOTE: The information presented is correct at the time of being reported, but subject to change without notice. If you intend on attending an entertainment venue in the area, call or visit that venue’s Web site in advance.