HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Entertainment venues across the state are readying to open this holiday weekend after Governor Kay Ivey gave them the green-light Thursday.
The U.S. Space & Rocket Center is one of them. However, they will not open Friday and may take several more days to prepare. This comes as the Rocket Center lays off more than 100 employees.
“No one is coming back all at one time. The part-time employees are going to be counted on to fill gaps this summer,” said Pat Ammons, the Senior Director of Communications for the U.S. Space & Rocket Center.
This is generally the busiest time of year for the Rocket Center. Memorial Day weekend would have certainly brought several thousand people to the campus.
“This is our busiest time of year. We’ve already lost our spring school season. We lost spring break when we would have thousands of visitors coming through,” said Ammons.
With a smaller staff and COVID-19 still very much a public health threat, the Rocket Center will take additional time to rearrange the traffic flow of visitors and retrain their staff to make sure the experience is as safe as possible.
The plan is still fluid but some changes have been released. The main entrance will be closed. Instead, tickets and entry will happen from the Davidson Center. Several exhibits including the playground and simulators will be closed. That means you can expect reduced prices.
“We are going to be operating with timed tickets. That’s something we’ve never done before because this place is so huge. There was never too many people here at one time,” said Ammons.
More details from the U.S. Space & Rocket Center will come soon. Click here for updates.
While large entertainment venues are happy with the amended health order, small businesses like Village Pizza in Athens are staying right where they were. As it stands, restaurants are still to operate at half capacity.
Village Pizza is currently staying with to-go orders and has a few outdoor tables while they make preparations inside to eventually welcome people in.
“Every day we are going to face challenges. It’s kind of how we react to them is what sets us apart,” said Josh Tarokh, the owner of Village Pizza.
Tarokh won’t complain, but restaurants are not built to run at half capacity. Since the pandemic started, Tarokh has been mindful of the health threats while also trying to keep his employees in a job.
“We just got to wake up and fight every day. We can’t just fold over and let COVID win,” said Tarokh.
Village Pizza says without the tireless work of Athens Main Street, they would not be as strong as they are today. Main Street has helped create take-out street advertisements while also working to get more outdoor dining space for local restaurants.