Cinema fans get their fix againSporting a striped teal bow tie, shiny black-and-white dress shoes and a smile partially hidden behind his mask, Roseburg Cinema General Manager Nathan Davies seemed excited to see everyone, like he was welcoming back old friends.

Davies greeted moviegoers back to Roseburg Cinema on Friday, after almost three months of closed doors.

The cinema closed March 16 due to gathering restrictions instituted across Oregon because of COVID-19.

Part of Davies’ greeting included screening questions about temperature and possible exposure and advice about avoiding yellow marked chairs so guests could keep a safe distance from each other. At 25% capacity per auditorium, most didn’t think they would have a problem with social distancing while enjoying the big screen.

Green resident Sheri Hilde thanked Davies for reopening, saying the movies are her way of escape.

“My daughter suggested I get away. This is my escape. I usually tell them that if anyone is ever looking for me, tell them they haven’t seen me,” Hilde joked. “This is my hiding place, so this is so good. I am so glad.”

Masks, roped-off aisles and fewer patrons are not the only noticeable differences. The movie offerings also vary from traditional shows. The coronavirus shut down all production in Hollywood, leaving Roseburg Cinema in the unique predicament of reopening with limited options for new movies.

“We are flying by the seat of our pants a little bit,” Davies said. “We are in a little bit of an interesting situation where Hollywood doesn’t have any new movies.”

Movies that were offered before the cinema closed, such as “Bloodshot” and “The Invisible Man,” along with movies that were supposed to premiere the week after closing — “Emma” and “Trolls World Tour,” for example — will join much-loved classics such as “Wizard of Oz,” “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” and “Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring.”

“It’s an interesting mix of films. It’s not anything we have ever done before,” Davies said. “The reason these were intentionally picked is because they are part of a series and if we get a good response for the first one, we may very well continue to play out the rest of the series.”

Hilde was there to see “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” a movie she says she has seen countless times but that she couldn’t miss the opportunity to see it on the big screen. According to Davies, the 1981 action-adventure was the most popular movie of the day.

Davies said Hollywood should begin to release new films in July, including Disney’s live-action remake of “Mulan.”

For the first week, all tickets for all shows will be $5. Davies said prices will change depending on the films they can offer.

When asked if she felt safe attending the movies, sans mask in her case, Hilde said she wasn’t worried.

“I think all this is a little overrated,” Hilde said. “I grew up learning that if you’re sick if you have a cold, you stay home.”

— Erica Welch

Time to celebrateAimee Jones is finally going to get the Grand Opening she’s been waiting for. It’s long overdue.

On New Year’s Eve, Jones closed escrow on the building that used to house Ed & Mo’s Diner, 133 S. Main St., Myrtle Creek. Four days later she realized a dream and opened Blended Main Street Eatery.

She wanted to have a grand opening, but the timing was never right. There was work to be done in the restaurant and her business partner, Tereasa Woods, was still in the Midwest. Then COVID-19 arrived, and a grand opening became impossible.

“We were doing really well, had just gotten our liquor license, everything was starting to turn around, and then we closed,” Jones said.

That was March 18. At 8 a.m. Tuesday, Jones will finally get her grand opening. She admits she can barely contain her excitement.

“Hello everyone! We are so excited to see you all on the 16th!” One post on the restaurant’s Facebook page said.

“7 MORE DAYS!!” a post this Tuesday said.

Jones grew up in Myrtle Creek before moving to California, where she worked planning events for Fortune 500 companies for over 20 years. She said it was always her dream to come back and open a small restaurant in her home town.

Woods worked in corporate finance in the Midwest for more than 20 years before moving out here this year.

Jones and Woods, who are best friends as well as business partners, both have blended families, hence their restaurant’s name.

“The COVID thing happened and we had to close, but instead of dwelling on the bad we turned it into a positive and remodeled and now we are ready to open on Tuesday,” Jones said. “We turned this COVID from a bad thing to a good thing.”

The restaurant makeover included new table and chairs — spaced out to allow for social distancing — and a revamped menu that Jones said features “home-style food made from scratch food.” Menu items include taco flights, chicken fried steak, burgers and salads.

Outdoor seating is also in the works, Woods said.

The restaurant has five employees, plus Jones and Woods. “We are a small town, family friendly eatery,” the Facebook page says.

On Saturday, Jones invited about two dozen family and friends over to Blended Main Street Eatery for a bit of a test run. But the real show starts Tuesday, with the official Grand Opening.

— Scott Carroll

Skate rink rolling againThere was supposed to be a big party Wednesday, a celebration for the 23rd anniversary of the Parkview Skating Center in Roseburg. But instead of balloons and music and laughter and skating — remember skating? — the place was empty and quiet like it has been for most of three months since COVID-19 forced its closure.

“Please help us get the word out as we celebrate our 23rd anniversary as a non-profit community skating center,” Diana Colby, director of the skate center, wrote that day in an email to area media. “Covid-19 has been tough. We are one of two remaining rinks in Oregon and need community support. Please encourage them to support us.”

Like the letter indicates, Colby isn’t one to sugarcoat how hard the closure has been on her, the staff of 16, volunteers and skaters who frequent the rink, located next to the YMCA on Northwest Stewart Parkway. The closure has been a drain on her personally, emotionally and physically. After the rink closed on March 17 she got so sick she was worried she had COVID-19. She plans to get tested for antibodies at her next doctor’s visit.

“I was very emotional having to close,” Colby said. “I knew I had bills to pay and knew we would have no income.”

Her attachment to the rink is understandable. She has been the face of the rink since Day 1 — before that even. Colby was the driving force behind moving the rink from vision to reality, spending more than five years tirelessly raising funds and haggling with city officials to make it happen.

That history is why the closure pained her so deeply. The rink lost $12,000 while closed, Colby said — money the nonprofit that owns the rink badly needed. Thankfully, the community pitched in with $2,500 in donations, she said.

Before the closure business was brisk, and the rink performed a sort of community service by giving youth across the spectrum something to do. Parkview held skate night for nine schools, hosted shelter and juvenile detention residents brought in by the county to skate as well as teens from the Wolf Creek Job Corps, Colby said.

“We were skating 200 to 300 skaters on Saturday nights, our CHEAPSKATE night when admission was a $1,” Colby said. “We won’t be able to offer that until we can skate more people.”

But things are looking up. The rink reopened on Friday and things have gone smoothly.

There are some minor changes. Colby installed plexiglass barriers where the cash registers are. She also closed off some tables and exit doors and put up arrows for directions. The video games are also covered and the rink changed the games the DJ can do to maintain social distancing, Colby said.

Perhaps most importantly, the rink can only have 100 skaters, based on Phase 2 guidelines and the square footage of the building, Colby said. Because of that spectators will be asked to make a donation.

Because of everything that has happened, a lot is riding on the rink’s reopening, Colby said.

“People are driving from Grants Pass, Medford and Eugene to come here,” she said. “We have been self-sustaining for 23 years. The community use keeps us rolling.”

— Scott Carroll

‘Like family’For more than 70 years the YMCA of Douglas County has been a community gathering place, where people could come to socialize, maybe work up a little sweat, and find out the latest news around town.

Then suddenly the YMCA was forced to close its doors in March due to COVID-19 restrictions, and everything stopped. The facility at 1151 NW Stewart Parkway was no longer a place the Y’s 4,000 members could come to work out, play some basketball or ping pong, swim a few laps, or simply sit and chat.

“The Y has never closed down for this amount of time before,” marketing director Stacy Powers said. “Our Y members have become like family when we shut down it was very sad to not see their faces every day. It was difficult to see such a once-lively place be so empty.”

The YMCA, which came to Roseburg in 1948 but has been its current location since 1960, initially reopened on June 1 as part of Phase 1 guidelines. That reopening allowed patrons to use the weight and cardio rooms, a limited fitness classes were available.

On June 8, the Y reopened much more fully under Phase 2 guidelines. That allowed people to play non-contact basketball, racquetball, pickleball, table and tennis. Additionally, the pools and spas reopened.

However, not everything has reopened. There are no team sports and dodgeball and indoor soccer are also not allowed. The steam room and sauna remain closed for now, and swim lessons are not yet available and the swim team has not resumed its practices in the pool. The Y’s child watch and child care programs have also not resumed.

Those coming back to the YMCA will notice other COVID-19 related changes too. The hours are now 6 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and the facility is closed on Sunday. Nationwide guest or day passes are not accepted, entrance may be limited depending on space requirements and face masks are “strongly recommended” but not required.

Additionally, the fitness classes were moved to create more space and there are smaller class sizes, Powers said. There are also new spacing guidelines throughout the facility and additional cleaning crews have been added.

“We would like to thank the community and our members for being so patient while we adjust and make changes to ensure everyone’s safety,” Powers said. “We look forward to seeing all of our members return.”

— Scott Carroll

Bowling is backMany businesses around here had to make changes to comply with restrictions imposed due to COVID-19, but few had to make such significant changes as TenDown Bowling & Entertainment in Roseburg.

Staggered bowling lanes; an entirely new cleaning station set up for balls, shoes and more; a completely revamped arcade play area; a reorganization of the Splitz Family Grill, the restaurant in the bowling alley; and more.

Despite that, TenDown Bowling co-owner Mariah Smith said she and the staff are happy to be open again. The bowling alley and arcade held a soft run Thursday “to get the kinks out,” Smith said, and then officially reopened Friday afternoon.

“We were able to open Splitz in phase 1, and that was exciting,” Smith said. “And we’re super excited to open everything else up too and get things rolling. It’s been very quiet in there, which was weird.”

Smith said she was able to bring back the staff of about three dozen people and added a couple of positions. Many hours were spent getting ready for the reopen, she said. The only thing to break the silence all these weeks was the children of some of the staff, who were allowed to play while their parents worked, Smith said.

“It was like a rice track here at times,” she said with a chuckle.

Being closed for so long was tough, but Smith said she understood why it was necessary.

“If there were an outbreak in the area I would hate to feel like me bringing my employees back in would contribute th anyone getting sick,” she said. “It’s scary.”

TenDown created a whole new sanitation area in what used to be the party room. The balls are now kept in that room when not in use, as well as the shoes, to make sure everything is sanitized, Smith said. Between the staggered lanes and the two lanes used for storing tables and other furniture, TenDown now has 16 lanes active for bowling, whereas before there were 34.

The arcade also got a makeover. There now is a specific entrance and exit to the arcade, and traffic flow signs on floor in the arcade to make people feel more comfortable, Smith said.

There are hand sanitizers, face coverings are suggested and disposable gloves are available.

Some games in the arcade were removed and others shut off to allow for safe social distancing, she said. Despite all that, Smith said she is confident the arcade will remain a popular hangout.

“It’s still going to be fun,” Smith said. “That was a big goal, to not take the fun out of it but keep it safe and compliant,” she said.

Some things still need to be worked out, like whether to resume league play and if so what that will look like, Smith said. But there will be time to sort those things out, she said. For now, it’s time to get back on the lanes and knock some pins down, she said.

“We’re excited to bring this kind of fun back to Roseburg,” Smith said. “Everybody has been cooped up for so long, this will be a chance to get out and have some fun.”

— Scott Carroll

Scott Carroll can be reached at scarroll@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4204. Or follow him on Twitter @scottcarroll15.

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Community Reporter

Erica Welch is the special sections editor for The News-Review, mother of two and a native of Roseburg. She is an alumni of RHS, UCC and Western Oregon University. Contact her at ewelch@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4218.

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