COLUMBIA – Temperatures are rising, and cooling centers are open for people trying to escape the heat. The ARC’s cooling center is back at full capacity for the summer.

Brian Higginbotham, The ARC’s Supervisor of Operations and Programming, said the cooling center is very similar to what it used to be before the pandemic.

The ARC does not require masks anymore, but it still maintaining six feet between people.

Higginbotham said, “The regulation now is probably the six-foot rule because some people are still a little hesitant and want that space whether it’s because of COVID-19 or just a personal thing.”

The ARC allowed only 14 people in the cooling center at one time in 2020. There were chairs that were socially distanced. Now, all the chairs and benches are back for people to sit.

The ARC will adjust to cater to people’s needs where it sees fit.

“If we happen to see a lot of people coming in, and some people have hesitation, we’ll adjust. That’s how you have to operate. You have to adjust with what you’re working with.”

Higginbotham said the ARC might bring back the socially distanced chairs if needed.

There are cooling centers at the Boone County Government Center and Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services.  

Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services still requires and provides masks.