The Rivoli 3 reopened for business over the weekend, though the number of movie-goers was below normal.
While smaller-than-usual crowds meant revenue was down, owners were thankful people didn’t flock to the theater as staff acclimates to a new normal because of the novel coronavirus.
“All our managers were excited about being able to reopen, but there was some anxiousness,” said Russell Vannorsdel, the vice president of Fridley Theatres.
Fridley Theatres owns the Rivoli 3 as well as 18 theaters in Iowa. Vannorsdel said the company opened two theaters in Iowa on Memorial Day weekend and then opened its remaining facilities over the following two weekends. Managers of the first two theaters to reopen shared their hands-on insight with their counterparts across the company.
During the time the theaters were closed, Vannorsdel said, management put together a plan to reopen based on recommendations from health officials and the directed health measures from the state government. A list of measures was developed in conjunction with recommendations from the World Health Organization, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Association of Theatre Owners and the National Restaurant Association.
Vannorsdel said that the DHMs set maximums at half of capacity. For the Rivoli, that capacity would be 400 people, giving them the ability to seat 200 under the DHMs. The plan is to slowly grow to that limit.
“We may only have 100 seats available for the first two weekends as we get comfortable,” he said.
Staff is asked to diligently uphold sanitation and cleanliness protocols. Vannorsdel said they take the novel coronavirus threat seriously and will make every effort to ensure the safety of each individual in their theaters.
Employees will stay home if they are sick or have been exposed to COVID-19, consent to a health screening and temperature reading at the employee entrance, use face coverings, and wear gloves when in direct contact with food. They also will practice social distancing, cover coughs and sneezes, avoid touching their faces, and wash their hands frequently and thoroughly.
Staff will allow only one refill for popcorn, in which a new tub and lid will be issued. Drink refills won’t be allowed at this time.
To help promote social distancing measures, they will implement movement patterns to promote distancing, use floor markers to establish 6-foot intervals for waiting lines, patrol common areas to promote distancing among guests, and space out feature start times to reduce overall congestion.
Ushers will help with seating patrons in a checkerboard pattern, alternating rows and leaving a minimum of one seat between each individual or party.
They will clean and disinfect every seat, arm rest, cup holder and table prior to opening for the day, and repeat the process for all occupied seats between showings.
They will display signage throughout the facility to inform and remind individuals of COVID-19 expectations, frequently wipe down and disinfect all high-contact surfaces, and provide hand sanitizer.
Guests will be asked to practice social distancing. Guests are encouraged to wear face coverings but aren’t required to do so for admittance.
Employees will conduct a brief verbal health screening at the entrance to ask if patrons have traveled out of the state or had any symptoms like fever or difficulty breathing in the last 14 days.
They ask guests to stay home if they are sick or have been exposed to COVID-19, limit group sizes to a maximum of six people, and arrive early to allow extra time for transactions and seating.
Children under age 13 must be accompanied by an adult. Parents should accompany and closely supervise children age 8 and under when they move throughout the building.
Some recent releases were available online due to movie theaters being closed across the nation. Vannorsdel said all the movies set to release between March and June will be staggered into the market over the next few months until new film production can catch up. In areas where new movies may not be available, he said, they will feature returning classics.
“We’re easing into this with some classic products,” he said. “There shouldn’t be too much of a gap because they’ll be able to begin production soon.”
KENESAW — The Kenesaw Pool will open Friday but admission will be limited primarily to residents of the local school district.
Members of the Kenesaw Village Board of Trustees approved during a special meeting on June 2 an opening date of June 12.
Board members affirmed during their regular meeting Tuesday pool guidelines for 2020.
Among those guidelines includes who has access to the pool.
Season passes are required for entrance.
Individuals who purchased a season pool pass last year are eligible to purchase one this year.
Individuals who live within the Kenesaw School District are eligible to purchase a new pool pass.
No new season pool passes will be sold this year to anyone who lives outside of the Kenesaw School District.
Passes can be purchased, and a liability waiver must be signed, at the village office, at 109 N. Smith Ave.
The June 2 special meeting saw discussion from more than 20 residents.
The consensus among those participants was that they would like the pool and park to open as soon and as safely as possible.
Participants also stated they would like Kenesaw residents or school district patrons to have preference for use of the pool.
Pool manager Christian Kroos said during the June 2 meeting he already removed the benches from the bath house to help eliminate congregating and that storage wasn’t available in the bathrooms.
According to Phase 2 guidelines with the 25% allowance, attendance would be capped at 45 patrons, excluding staff.
According to cleaning and disinfecting details in the pool guidelines, bathrooms will be cleaned periodically throughout the open swim time.
The slide and board will be sanitized once a day with disinfectant.
The facility will be cleaned from noon to 12:30, after swimming lessons and prior to open swim. It also will be cleaned 7:30-8 p.m., after open swim.
Patrons will be limited in groups of no more than six on the pool deck and must be a minimum of 6 feet away from the next group.
No food or drinks will be sold the first two weeks of operation. There also will be no public drinking fountain available.
Also during the board’s meeting Tuesday, the board offered support to Tim Schirmer and other Wasenek Days committee members to continue planning for Wasenek Days to occur as scheduled in August. Planning will continue with realization that social distancing may make certain activities not possible, and the entire event may not be able to take place.
An Adams County woman in her 40s on Tuesday became the 279th county resident to be confirmed by a laboratory as positive for the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19.
The South Heartland District Health Department announced the one new case in a news release Tuesday evening. To date, the district has recorded a total of 309 positive cases, including the 279 in Adams County, 24 in Clay County, five in Webster County and one in Nuckolls County.
Of those 309 COVID-19-positive patients, at least 260 have recovered. The district’s death toll stands at 11 — all Adams County residents.
“We continue to conduct contact investigations for individuals who test positive and live in Adams, Clay, Nuckolls or Webster counties,” said South Heartland Executive Director Michele Bever. “Anyone who has symptoms should self-isolate and we direct close contacts to quarantine and self-monitor for symptoms.”
Although directed health measures remain in place to help thwart the spread of COVID-19 in the area, many South Heartland residents are getting out and about these days, going to church, shopping, and even socializing with friends and relatives again. The “reopening” poses worries for public health experts, who are urging caution and responsibility on the part of the public in an effort to head off a new spike in case numbers.
Bever said new cases frequently are traced back to gatherings or interactions where people aren’t keeping physical distance or wearing masks.
“We encourage everyone to continue to practice social distancing, to wear masks when it is difficult to social distance, and to practice prevention diligently, everywhere you go,” she said.
Bever said South Heartland is working with event planners and businesses developing plans for upcoming activities that will adhere to the directed health measures imposed by the state.
Bever said the health department is working with inquirers to answer questions and is emphasizing the importance of the social distancing and prevention components of their plans.
“The plans submitted to the health department for review and approval must include how the venue or event will meet the DHM requirements,” she said. “The requirements are in place to help keep the staff and the patrons as safe as possible during Nebraska’s step-wise reopening process.”
South Heartland District case counts and trends can be found on SHDHD’s dashboard of local COVID-19 case statistics. This dashboard, along with updates, guidance, news releases and other COVID-19 information and links, can be found on the SHDHD website:www.southheartlandhealth.org.
The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services provides daily updates to Nebraska’s coronavirus COVID-19 cases on its Data Dashboard at http://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/Coronavirus.
Across Nebraska, a total of 131 new COVID-19 cases and three additional deaths were confirmed on Tuesday, bringing the state’s running total of positive cases to 15,883, with 191 deaths, NDHHS reported.
As of Tuesday, 42% of the state’s hospital beds, 43% of its intensive care unit beds and 78% of its ventilators were available, the state agency reported on its Data Dashboard.