Provo city is launching a four-day, virtual scavenger hunt with prizes from local businesses to help families find a safe way to enjoy time away from work and school.

The hunt will begin at 8 a.m. Friday where teams of around five people will earn points by taking pictures and videos of them doing any number of things on a provided list. The scavenger hunt will end at 10 p.m. Monday.

Over 150 teams with an average of five people per team have registered for the event, and Provo Parks and Recreation Event Coordinator Aspen Dalton said the city expects several more teams to register before the deadline this morning.

The city is using the GooseChase app to host “The Great Provo Virtual Scavenger Hunt” for people in quarantine and families at home with children who don’t have in-person classes.

“The coronavirus pandemic is stressful for all of us,” Mayor Michelle Kaufusi said. “Our main priority at Provo city is to continue providing the essential services you need, but we also want to help raise spirits and provide resources to encourage citizens to take heed of the important social distancing guidelines we’ve been given.”

Depending on the action, participants can earn a varying number of points, and the team with the most amount of points at the end of the four days wins the grand prize. Other teams will be entered into a raffle to win additional prizes.

Each of the prizes have been donated by small businesses from around the area.

“I think that’s been my favorite part,” Dalton said. “Small businesses are being hit the hardest right now, but they are still willing to come together to support the residents of Provo.”

Peace on Earth Coffee, BYU TV and Radio, Bam Bams BBQ, the Neighborhood Art Center and other businesses have each donated prizes to help families “beat the COVID-19 blues.”

About 95% of the items on the list, Dalton said, can be accomplished in residents’ own homes or backyards, which helps encourage families to share time together while also enforcing social distancing standards.

Utah County Health Department Executive Director Ralph Clegg issued a public health order on March 18 stating that social gatherings with more than 10 people were prohibited.

Dalton said the scavenger hunt will help residents feel more in tune with others in their situations while avoiding large gatherings. Teams can also view what items others have fulfilled by viewing the pictures and videos posted to a social wall within the app.

In addition to the scavenger hunt, the city of Provo is hosting a number of other events to help residents maintain some sense of normalcy during this unfamiliar time, Kaufusi said.

Each day at 11 a.m., city officials host a virtual Cabin Fever Story Time with the library. Officials have also helped to provide hundreds of hours of exercise videos for citizens to work out to at home and a bedtime story that is read virtually by the fire chief.

City and library resources are available online at all times and questions can be answered at 311.

“Mental health is as important as physical health so where we can provide for both, we will,” said Kaufusi. “In addition to providing situation updates and important notices, we will also be sharing stories we hear that remind us of why we are all proud to call Provo home.”

Dalton said this is the largest scavenger hunt the city has hosted thus far and is looking forward to organizing more in the future. She is most excited to work on an outdoor scavenger hunt event once larger social gatherings have been cleared through state and federal health officials.

The GooseChase app is free and available in the Apple App Store and on Google Play. Once the app has been downloaded, players can join the hunt by entering code “ZDE3Q1” and registering a team. Teams need a minimum of one person to qualify.

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