As classes move online, residence halls close and the Arkansas and federal governments advise against out-of-state and international travel, it can be easy to feel lonely, cooped-up and stir-crazy. Amid city-wide closures and guidance from the CDC to avoid non-essential flights and practice social distancing, many students have also cancelled their spring break trips.
Luckily, there are plenty of options–including free online offerings–to help pass the time, break the monotony of self-isolation, and distract from an upcoming spring break spent at home.
Netflix and Quarantine?
While being stuck at home can mean a lot of boring down-time in between online classes and walks with the family dog, it’s also a great opportunity to zip through that TV series or list of movies you’ve been meaning to watch. Several new bingeable options are arriving on streaming platforms this weekend.
Netflix released eleven new Netflix Originals on Friday, including horror flick “The Platform,” true-crime series “Tiger King,” and six-episode fantasy-adventure series “The Letter for the King.” Also be sure to seize the last opportunity to stream 18 shows and movies that will be leaving Netflix during or at the end of spring break, including “A Wrinkle In Time” (March 24), and “Charlie’s Angels,” “Hairspray” and “The Dark Knight” (March 30).
Hulu dropped two weekend releases Friday: Hulu Original coming-of-age comedy “Big Time Adolescence,” starring “SNL’s” Pete Davidson, and “Real Housewives of Potomac” season four.
Amazon Prime Video released dark-comedy-murder-mystery film “Blow the Man Down,” an Amazon Original, on Friday, and horror film “I See You” on Saturday.
As movie theaters across the country close their doors for public health protection, new in-home options are beginning to emerge. Starting Friday, Universal Pictures has made three big-budget films that were recently released in theaters available to rent online for $19.99 each: psychological thrillers “The Invisible Man” and “The Hunt,” and comedic Jane Austen adaptation “Emma.”
I Be Up in (My House) Just Working on My Fitness, He's My Witness...
For those itching to get some at-home exercise amid nationwide gym closures, several major gym chains are offering free online workout options.
Planet Fitness is closed until March 31 at the earliest, but the company is streaming free 20-minute workouts every day at 6 p.m. via Facebook Live. All previous workouts can be viewed on the Planet Fitness Facebook page.
Gold’s Gym, another national chain, is closed until at least March 31 and is offering free access to the company’s app with 600+ audio and video workouts through May 31.
Orangetheory Fitness, closed until at least March 31, will add daily 30-minute workouts to the company’s YouTube page while its locations are closed.
For those who still want to sweat but are looking for a more centering, calming experience during these trying times, national chain CorePower Yoga is offering free access to a limited number of half-hour and hour-long videos on its website until it reopens March 30.
Would You Like a (Virtual) Tour?
While it may be a drag not to spend spring break sunbathing on the beach or wandering the streets of an unfamiliar foreign city, the internet provides opportunities for hours of exploration–all from the comfort of your own bed.
Google Arts and Culture provides access to virtual tours of more than 2,500 global museums, including the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Tate Modern in London, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Online visitors can even tour historical landmarks like the Taj Mahal and the Great Pyramids of Giza. Some tours are guided by virtual docents.
Major tourist destinations like the Vatican and the Louvre Museum, currently closed to guests, also provide virtual tours on their websites. The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., provides online tours of three facilities: the National Museum of Natural History, the Smithsonian Castle and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.
In partnership with Google Arts and Culture, the National Parks Service has developed ranger-guided, visually captivating virtual tours of five National Parks. Through “The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks,” online adventurers can tour Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska, Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park in Hawai’i, Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico, Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, and Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida.
For an even more surreal, underwater experience, take a virtual dive of a National Marine Sanctuary such as American Samoa, the Florida Keys or Monterey Bay.
Come on, Come on, Turn Up the Music (to a Volume That’s Considerate of Others in the House).
For music lovers and avid concert-goers, this period of social isolation can be a difficult time as musical artists and bands cancel concerts across the world, and many concert venues close completely. However, a nonprofit has developed a way to bring live music to the masses while keeping artists and audience members safe at home.
Global Citizen launched its “Together At Home” concert series Monday, wherein global pop, EDM and R&B artists perform at-home concerts via livestreams on their personal Instagrams. Artists that have performed this week include Charlie Puth, Celeste, OneRepublic, Niall Horan, Shawn Mendes, Camilla Cabello, Common and John Legend. Recordings of the concerts are available on the Global Citizen YouTube page.
Each day’s artists and performance times are announced on Global Citizen’s social media pages one to two days in advance, or added to the lineup day-of. Artists announced for the weekend include Juanes, who will perform at 4 p.m. Saturday, Cuppy, who will perform at 5 p.m., Bastille, who will perform at 3 p.m. Sunday, and Anthony Hamilton, who will perform at 4 p.m. Sunday. Global Citizen provides concert updates on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook throughout each day.
If All Else Fails, Eat Your Feelings.
If you’re feeling the COVID-19 blues and nothing but greasy comfort food will do, take advantage of one of several national fast food chains offering free home delivery.
Restaurants offering free delivery on orders of $10 or more through their websites and mobile apps include Burger King, Blaze Pizza, Chipotle (through March 31), Moe’s Southwest Grill (through April 10) and Denny’s (through April 12). Popeyes and KFC (through April 26), will provide free delivery with no minimum via their websites and mobile apps.
Wendy’s is providing free delivery on orders of $10 or more via food delivery apps Grubhub and Postmates. Delivery app UberEats has waived delivery fees for more than 100,000 independent restaurants in the U.S. and Canada.
A fun bonus to keep in mind if ordering from restaurants that sell alcohol: the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Division issued an emergency ruling Thursday allowing restaurants to deliver wine and beer alongside food orders. Do with that information what you will.