Siuslaw River Bridge

Cinemas Set To Return; Mask Controversy In Lincoln County; COVID-19 Numbers; New ODE Regulations

Cinemas Set To Return

As businesses try to find their new normal in the era of COVID-19, one local business that will be reopening has seen a silver lining in clouds.  Michael Falter with City Lights Cinemas has been struggling with the idea of opening in the current situation, but says that he knew that not opening might mean that Florence will never have a local cinema.  Falter said that when he walked back into the building he looked at what was necessary under the guidelines to reopen and then, with the help of a few others, got to work.

“At first it was like, ok here’s what we got to do because of the guidelines, but then pretty soon I was like this is what we’re going to do because this is going to be a much more comfortable space.”

He says they got busy removing rows of seating and placing tables where the empty spaces were and began to wonder why he didn’t do this when the theater first opened.  The facility is being completely remodeled to work with the state requirements including the ticket and concession area.  He says they are also looking for a new food truck to provide meals for movie goers.  City Lights Cinemas will be reopening on July 10th.  Michael Falter discusses the theater, the movie industry, and the delay of a blockbuster summer on next week’s Our Town.

Mask Controversy In Lincoln County

Controversy over a Lincoln County stipulation in their new mask wearing requirements has once again brought the Oregon coast national attention.  This week  under a Governor Kate Brown edict the county will be requiring all individuals to wear masks when in public places that cannot provide social distancing and all indoor businesses, but out of a concern for the potential of racial profiling, the county has exempted people of color from wearing masks.  This garnered the attention of all the major news outlets with some posing the question that not including them in the edict can also be racial profiling as well as a health issue.  Lincoln County according to the last census is more than 80% white.  After severe backlash from the initial regulation, Lincoln County officials removed the exemption.

COVID-19 Numbers

3 new deaths and 171 new coronavirus cases were added to yesterday’s total bringing the death toll to 195 in the state and confirmed cases to 7.444.  Lane County was absent on the list of new cases with the majority of cases being attributed to Multnomah, Washington and Umatilla, making up more than 100 of the new cases.  The three new deaths are a Lincoln County man in his 60’s that reportedly did not have any underlying health conditions, a 78 year old Clackamas County man, and an 87 year old Marion County woman both with underlying health conditions.  Lane County has tested over 20 thousand residents.  Testing is expected to ramp up significantly with the offering of free testing in the county that began yesterday and will be available in the Siuslaw region on Saturday at Mapleton Food Share and next Wednesday at the Florence Food Share.

New ODE Regulations

New Oregon Department of Education guidelines were released yesterday that will affect how the new school year will go.  The new rules include public health protocols, distance learning requirements, facility and school operations, and transportation just to name a few topics.  Superintendent Andy Grzeskowiak will be on Our Town to lay out the new operation blueprint called Ready Schools, Safe Learners.