Smash Park, which launched the popularity of pickleball in the Des Moines area, is closing its doors to the public for the next four weeks.
In addition, Prairie Meadows Casino, Racetrack and Hotel is closing at 5 p.m. indefinitely.
“Although there have been no known cases of COVID-19 at our property, at the direction of the Prairie Meadows board of directors and executive team we are suspending operations out of an abundance of caution for our community, guests and employees,” the casino located in Altoona announced in a news release.
Smash Park owner Monty Lockyear attributed his move to close the popular entertainment venue to the spread of the coronavirus in Central Iowa.
Smash Park, located at 6625 Coachlight Drive east of Jordan Creek Town Center in West Des Moines, and Prairies Meadows are among the first well-known Central Iowa establishments to temporarily close. While state and local officials haven’t mandated that restaurants, bars and “eatertainment” venues close, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended against gatherings of 50 or more people.
Lockyear, in a news release, said the decision wasn’t an easy one to make.
“As a local small business this was a difficult decision, but we felt it was the right one to protect our community and our employees,” he said in the prepared release. “As a local small business this was a difficult decision, but we felt it was the right one to protect our community and our employees. These are challenging and uncertain times for everyone in our community, but we will get through this together. We look forward to welcoming friends, families and our loyal fans back to Smash Park as soon as possible.”
Lockyear told the Business Record that Smash Park’s 16 salaried workers would continue to be paid during the closure. The business also has 59 hourly workers.
“We are doing everything we can to get through this situation while preventing any financial hardship for our valued employees,” Lockyear wrote in an email. “We are assessing what can be done for hourly employees and doing whatever we can to support them.”
Prairie Meadows, in its release, said its board of directors has “adopted a compensation plan” for workers affected by the temporary closure. “This pay process will be in effect for up to 30 days,” the release said. “If the shutdown lasts longer, Prairie Meadows will evaluate the compensation plan at that time.”
The release did not include the details of the compensation plan or how many people work at the entertainment complex.