Beat the Covid blues with Parking Lot Bingo!

Staff Reports.

Seniors love socializing. Seniors love Bingo. Seniors now social distance because they want to avoid Covid-19.

Ta Da! They do all three now playing Parking Lot Bingo every Thursday at the Branson-Hollister Senior Center.


BINGO! Don “Pete” Peterson and Mary Ann Raemisch play a rousing game of bingo while social distancing in the parking lot at the Branson-Hollister Senior Center on a warm Thursday afternoon in June. (Branson Globe photo.)

“During this time of social distancing and uncertainty due to the Coronavirus, some ideas of thinking outside of the box have succeeded,” said Lisa Arnold, Administrator at the center. “One of these is Parking Lot Bingo. The patrons at the center have always enjoyed playing Bingo on Thursdays and now they still can.

This is how Arnold explained the way Parking Lot Bingo is played: Cars are distanced a parking space apart. Patrons can stay in their vehicle or sit in front of them in lawn chairs.

Bingo cards are passed out to each person, Traci Burrow (Community Center Coordinator) calls the Bingo numbers from the front porch with a microphone and speaker, when someone wins, they either honk their horn or yell “BINGO!”

Arnold delivers a cart with prizes to the winner so they can choose their reward.

Accoring to Arnold, Patrons say “This is so much fun, it’s the highlight of my week, can’t wait till next time.”

Arnold asked people to please join them Thursdays at 1:00 pm, in the parking lot for Senior Parking Lot Bingo. For questions please contact Traci Burrow at 417-337-8510 or Lisa Arnold at 417-335-4801.

In the meantime, tourists and Bransonites alike are returning to a more normal way of life than sheltering at home by visiting attractions, shopping, doing their laundry at the new laundromat and dining out.


Codi Weise, Paddlewheel server, tends to dining guests Caitlin Knop and Noah Davis from the Austin, Texas area. (Branson Globe photo)

Caitlin Knop and Noah Davis tore out of Bastrop and Smithville, Texas, near Austin to beat Tropical Storm Chrstobal. Seven hours later Monday night the storm caught up with them outside of Branson.

They checked into the Hilton and dashed across the street to the Branson Landing for a look-see. Eventually they landed at the Paddlewheel.

“We decided to go on a road trip,” said Knop, a schoolteacher. “We’re headed to Clear Lake Iowa. I want to show Noah the farm in my family for 150 years, tomorrow, after the rain quits.”

“I’m am out-of-work chef so I have time on my hands, Davis.” I was curious to see how restaurants like the Paddle were dealing the Covid.”

Larry Milton, Paddlewheel owner and city Alderman, said he hired two Cleaning Czars” for constant disinfecting. The Paddlewheel has also converted to single-use cups, utensils, menus and condiments, and social Distancing patrons by spacing tables out.

“When full, we’re limited to about 30 percent capacity,” Milton said. “It’s not a sustainable business model.”

Rick Tony, who owns the new Launderette along with daughter LaTisha was just as sanguine about business prospects as Branson slowly reopens for business.

“I’m glad we didn’t start a restaurant, we’d have been bankrupted by now because of the pandemic,” Tony said. Enough people are finding out about us so we can barely cover expenses and not break the bank.”

It’s the reaction of people when out in public that brings up interesting reactions from people, Tony said.

“I coughed in The Branson Café and nearly cleared the place out.”

Milton of the Paddlewheel said some tourists seemed a little nervous and the “the majority are optimistic.”


Cindy Demeter at Country Mart says she doesn’t mind the bumps and hassles of preventing the spread of Covid since a lot of people have lost their loved ones during the pandemic. (Branson Globe photo)

For Cindy Demeter, customer service representative and cashier at the Country Mart store, there is one thing that bugs her the most about the Covid bug – her nails, or lack thereof.

It’s painful Demeter said. “I’m constantly sanitizing. I keep hitting my hands on the Plexiglas shield bumping my nails. The mask fogs up your glasses. Its draining. But that is all nothing. We do it and think of all those people who loved ones. Were just here to help.”


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