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How to entertain yourself at home when everything is canceled due to coronavirus

We’ve got plenty of ideas.

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Halfway through a recent staff planning meeting, someone asked the looming question: “What do we do if all the events we’re writing about get canceled?”

We could not have predicted that most of the places and organizations we cover weekly would be forced to close temporarily or postpone their events due to the spreading coronavirus.

It’s unprecedented. But that’s where we are.

It felt like someone turned on the faucet about a week ago, as a widespread national response to major events and large gatherings started and then didn’t stop. Broadway went dark, all shows canceled for a month. Disneyland in California shut down, then hours later, Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando followed suit.

The U.S. internet won’t get overloaded by spikes in traffic from the millions of Americans now working from home to discourage the spread of the new coronavirus, experts say. But connections could stumble for many if too many family members try to videoconference at the same time.
The U.S. internet won’t get overloaded by spikes in traffic from the millions of Americans now working from home to discourage the spread of the new coronavirus, experts say. But connections could stumble for many if too many family members try to videoconference at the same time. [ Times (2015) ]

The local response swiftly followed. Huge events once set to happen this week around Tampa Bay are no longer taking place: the Valspar Golf Championship, the Reggae Rise Up festival, Cher at Amalie Arena. The Florida Orchestra has canceled its next handful of shows; the Straz Center for the Performing Arts is closed until mid-April. Busch Gardens is closed for the month.

Related: Which Tampa Bay entertainment venues are closed, and for how long

Whether all of your weekend plans are now kaput, you’re just cautious about stepping foot in a public place, or you or your loved ones are actually quarantined, COVID-19 is forcing us to live our lives differently — mainly in our homes, away from large groups of people.

That’s why we have come up with creative ways you can entertain yourself at home. From streaming music documentaries to learning how to sew, our team offers some creative ideas to keep the spirit of this section going in the midst of all this social distancing.

Not every local event has been canceled. But things are changing fast. For the most up-to-date information, check our constantly updating, searchable list of event cancellations.

Stay entertained at home

Here are several multi-season TV shows to binge.

Or, try getting outside and doing these things while maintaining a safe social distance.

We suggest 10 music documentaries to stream.

And six ways to keep rocking.

Here are some books about pandemics to read during this weird time.

While local stages are dark, stream Broadway or ballet.

Here’s how you can appreciate art from the safety of your home.

Or do some shopping.

Here are five ways to get a virtual workout.

We have your local theater, online shopping and local art fixes covered.

This is where you should hit the trail.

Or stream national and local concerts at home.

You could even take a scenic drive.

But bring these great audiobooks and podcasts along for the ride.

Finding some social distancing space like this lone jogger travels did on Clearwater Beach in 2018 might be tough this week. We are having a record spring break.
Finding some social distancing space like this lone jogger travels did on Clearwater Beach in 2018 might be tough this week. We are having a record spring break. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Tampa Bay Times (2018) ]

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Tampa Bay Times coronavirus guide

Q&A: The latest and all your questions answered.

PROTECT YOURSELF: Household cleaners can kill the virus on most surfaces, including your phone screen.

BE PREPARED: Guidelines for essentials to keep in your home should you have to stay inside.

STOCK UP YOUR PANTRY: Foods that should always be in your kitchen, for emergencies and everyday life.

FACE MASKS: They offer some protection, but studies debate their effectiveness.

WORKPLACE RISK: A list of five things employers could be doing to help curb the spread of the disease.

READER BEWARE: Look out for bad information as false claims are spreading online.

OTHER CORONAVIRUS WEBSITES:

CDC

Florida Department of Health

We’re working hard to bring you the latest news on coronavirus in Florida. This effort takes a lot of resources to gather and update. If you haven’t already subscribed, please consider buying a print or digital subscription.

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