Theater, science center putting on finishing touches to reopen in Pullman

PULLMAN, Wash. – Whitman County moved to phase three less than two weeks ago, and some businesses are taking their time to reopen the doors.

All the activity stations at the Palouse Discovery Science Center has remained untouched by little curious minds for months now.

“We miss the kids everyday. It’s really sad to be in these halls when it’s empty and you don’t have laughter and you don’t have squeals of excitement,” said Meri Joswiak, the director of the science center.

It’s tough to open the place because most things there are very hands-on.

“Young children learn by touching, feeling, tasting everything. So we really, it’s not just reopening, we really have to reinvent everything,” she said.

Since learning the county moved to the next stage of reopening, Joswiak has been trying to figure out what exactly she can do with the place to make it safeThey also just brought staff back on again after receiving a small business loan.

Joswiak said they are reopening the center in phases. Starting late next week, they’ll allow members back, however the exhibits inside the center won’t be open just yet. Joswiak says they will have activities outside, utilizing their small nature loop and their two fields.

“I have a passion for outdoor education, so it’s also an opportunity.  We’re going to get families outside, moving, which is needed right now. People have been cooped up,” she said.

Joswiak says it’s been difficult to figure out how they safely reopen all the exhibits because the governor’s office has not yet released guidelines on how to do so. She said they hope to have the rest of the exhibit open in July.

As for the big kids – the adults – they can walk in to movie theaters in Pullman Friday to watch something other than what’s on television.

“I’m cautious to say it’s probably going to be slow here to begin with until people gain confidence in what we’re doing,” said Sean Warner, the chief operating officer for the Village Centre Theatres.

The Village Centre Cinema (VCC) in Pullman will have every other row of seats taped off to maintain social distancing. Warner asks that movie-goers also have two seats in between their party and another.

Theaters can reopen in phase 3 with fewer than 50 percent capacity, so VCC will only be opening 5 of its 8 theaters.

The theater also purchased some new sanitizing tools to disinfect the cloth seats after every show. Markers are in place on the floor at the concessions and plexiglass partitions are put up between the cashier and guest.

It’s been tough on the movie industry as new movies have been delayed, so theaters are playing some old films right now.

“It’s going to affect what we’re able to bring in the box office. Right now the only thing available are classic movies, so we’re playing all the movies… $5 for everybody all day long,” Warner added.

RELATED: Gov. Inslee announces new guidelines for religious services reopening

RELATED: Health officer declines Spokane County Commissioners’ request to begin phase 3 application