MILWAUKEE — After closing its doors to the public because of coronavirus, Hangout MKE is helping to prescribe a dose of fun for those with cabin fever.
The forced closures have been difficult for many restaurants and small businesses in our area, but it's been particularly tough for Hangout MKE.
The East Side spot is less than a year old and was designed to be a destination for people of all ages to hang out and play different games. The self-isolation recommendations make that all but impossible.
"It's a little difficult," Elyssa Parrish, Supervisor at Hangout MKE, said. "We bill ourselves as a place you can Hangout and do this, but it's like, just kidding. You can't hang out here. Sorry."
Parrish says they had to get creative. They usually offer some larger-than-life versions of familiar games, which can be fun for both adults and kids. However, they aren't able to exactly deliver that to their customers now. So they tried to figure out how to bring the "hang out" to people's homes.
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"We started selling activity packs," Parrish said. "We have an adult one with a couple beers or White Claws—stuff like that. We have an all-ages pack with brain teasers and cards. We also have a paint pouring pack right now, so if anyone wanted to get into the acrylic paint pouring trend, we have that going on. It's really fun. We wanted to give people the opportunity to do some things. We're all about activities. We know how important it is to stimulate yourself mentally."
They still serve coffee and deliver food during the pandemic, but the activity packs give them hope their doors won't be shut for good.
"I think everybody has some anxiety about not being able to keep their businesses," Parrish said. "With this past weekend and the activity packs and support with those, it's looking better than it was a week ago when we were all kind of nervous. We got a lot of support. It seems like there is some hope."