Columbia cooling centers open for rising temperatures

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COLUMBIA - Friday marks the start of a hot weekend, so Columbia is opening up public facilities for any one to come and take a break from the heat.

The Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services coordinates with facilities in the community to ensure people stay safe in the heat.

Public Information Officer for the department Andrea Waner said the facilities are open during normal business hours. 

"Basically, if any place is open, you will have access to a water fountain or a restroom. There's a place to sit to enjoy the air conditioning and get out of the heat," Waner said.

Waner said no questions will be asked for people who come into the facility.

"These are facilities that are really busy and used for a lot of things, so there's no shame in coming in and taking a break from the heat because people are using these facilities anyways," Waner said. "You come in, we're not going to bash you why you are here."

The department also wants people to know the facilities are available for any one from the homeless to linemen. 

"It's the public health departments job to promote public health and safety. This is one of those easy ways we can say 'Come inside and take a break from outside, take care of yourself here's how we can help,'" Waner said.

There are eight cooling center locations around Columbia:

  • ARC (Activity and Recreation Center), 1707 W Ash Street
  • Armory Sports and Community Center, 701 E Ash Street
  • Boone County Government Center, 801 E Walnut
  • Columbia/Boone County Public Health & Human Services, 1005 W Worley
  • Columbia Public Library, 100 W Broadway
  • Salvation Army, 1108 W Ash Street
  • Salvation Army Harbor House, 602 N Ann
  • St. Francis House, 901 Rangeline

 The department also recommends staying clear of caffeine and alcohol this weekend while out in the heat for long periods of time.