Friday, September 30, 2022

Coronavirus: Here’s how locals are connecting through virtual hangouts

Multiple nights a week Matt Chambers, owner of Squared Away Entertainment, offers a number of virtual activities for locals. (WYDaily/Courtesy Matt Chambers)
Multiple nights a week Matt Chambers, owner of Squared Away Entertainment, offers a number of virtual activities for locals. (WYDaily/Courtesy Matt Chambers)

As people continue to social distance to prevent the spread of coronavirus, many locals are finding ways to spend time with each other through virtual hangouts.

Matt Chambers, owner of the local company Squared Away Entertainment, had been an active DJ and trivia host in Williamsburg bars for the past two years. But when the coronavirus forced people into their homes, he knew he had to help provide some sense of connection.

That’s why Chambers started offering online trivia nights, game show events and other activities for people to participate in from their couch.

“People have said they’re glad it’s happening because it’s their return to normal,” Chambers said. “And I need it just as much as anyone else because we’re all stuck at home looking for ways to connect.”

When Chambers first started hosting the online activities, he said there were only about 20 people involved and a number of glitches. Now, he has online operations down to a more efficient system and his most recent trivia night hosted more than 40 teams.

Chambers also expanded from just offering trivia to providing activities most nights of the week. His weekly schedule of events is as follows:

  • Mondays, Game Night: Wheel of Fortune, 7 p.m.
  • Tuesdays, Games Night: Family Feud Live, 7 p.m.
  • Thursdays, Game Night: SpeedQuizzing Live, 7 p.m.
  • May 1 and May 15, Kids Only Trivia, 4 p.m.

Chambers has also started working with local businesses to offer prizes and sponsorship opportunities during each event.

“I understand, I’m a small business owner myself, so I know it’s impacting others, too,” he said. “The fact that the community is all coming together to help small businesses out is what we need right now and will make us a more tight-knit community.”

Chambers said as the pandemic continues, he wants to find other creative ways to connect with people virtually and provide a sense of closeness during such a difficult time.

Other local organizations and residents are also finding ways to provide virtual interactions, from karaoke to book clubs.

Here are some ways locals can hangout with each other online:

In addition Barry Trott, director of special projects and technical services for the Williamsburg Regional Library, said virtual events have become popular in the local community.

Most recently the library’s Getaway Cafe, which connects those with memory loss and their caretakers with others, moved online and had nearly as many participants as it did when the event happened in person.

Trott added that the library updates its programming schedule regularly online with new virtual experiences and interactions for locals.

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Alexa Doironhttp://wydaily.com
Alexa Doiron is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She graduated from Roanoke College and is currently working on a master’s degree in English at Virginia Commonwealth University. Alexa was born and raised in Williamsburg and enjoys writing stories about local flair. She began her career in journalism at the Warhill High School newspaper and, eight years later, still loves it. After working as a news editor in Blacksburg, Va., Alexa missed Williamsburg and decided to come back home. In her free time, she enjoys reading Jane Austen and playing with her puppy, Poe. Alexa can be reached at alexa@localvoicemedia.com.

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