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Museums, wedding venues reopen with changes that adjust to pandemic
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Museums, wedding venues reopen with changes that adjust to pandemic

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Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Wednesday that Iowa will continue reopening, adding movie theaters, museums, wedding reception venues and zoos to a list of businesses that can reopen as of Friday.

Nishna Heritage Museum at 117 Main St, Oakland, chose to reopen over the weekend.

The museum will be open to the public Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 1 to 3 p.m., according to Gayle Strickland, spokesperson for the Oakland Historical Society.

“With Memorial Day coming up, we tend to have visitors stopping by so we decided to open as a public service,” said Strickland.

Visitors are encouraged to social distance 6 feet apart and wear a mask if attending. Workers will also be thoroughly cleaning high touch areas like door handles and bathrooms per Centers for Disease Control recommendation.

Anyone interested in visiting the museum outside the provided days or times can make an appointment by calling 712-482-6802.

Treynor Wedding venue Palace Event Center reopened Friday.

The location was rented out immediately Friday for a wedding to be held for the first time since March.

“We’re trying to make people happy and give them the best day they want, and we’ll do whatever it takes. We don’t want to be the reason a bride can’t have her wedding out there. We want them to have their day,” said Craig Buckingham, co-owner of Palace Event Center.

The wedding venue has had eight weddings planned during the pandemic that had to be cancelled or rescheduled. Two meetings and two proms were also canceled in that time.

Reopening, the Palace Event Center is adding extra cleaning precautions. Tables were limited to six people per table and moved so they are six feet apart. Plates will also be taken to tables with food rather than allowing buffet style options.

Caterers and other hired personnel like florists and DJ’s will have their own safety precautions, Buckingham said.

Attendees for any upcoming weddings were advised to use their best judgement and not attend if they didn’t feel comfortable.

Other museums like Union Pacific Railroad Museum said they will not open Friday.

“While we are excited by the possibility of reopening, we were grateful that the Governor indicated that Museums “may” reopen when they have everything in place to safely serve their communities,” said Patricia LaBounty, Union Pacific Railroad Museum curator.

The Union Pacific Museum is putting together new procedures and guidelines to keep visitors and volunteers safe. The museum will announce when they’ll reopen at a later date, LaBounty said.

Museums run by the Historical and Preservation Society of Pottawattamie County — the Squirrel Cage Museum and RailsWest Railroad Museum — will also remain closed for the time being.

According to Kat Slaughter, Historical Society museums director, the HSPC is working on plans to reopen, keeping the safety of museum guests and employees in mind. There is no date set for reopening at this time. Updates on reopening can be found at thehistoricalsociety.org as well as on Facebook.

“We at the H.S.P.C. see everyone as family, and we want to be careful and cognizant we are making the soundest decisions. We believe that cautious steps make for a safe landing,” Slaughter said.

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