COSI Columbus to reopen in November after 8-month hiatus

Eric Lagatta
ThisWeek group
COSI Columbus, 333 W. Broad St. in downtown Columbus, has been closed since March because of the COVID-19 coronavirus. It will reopen Nov. 20, initially three days a week – Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays – through Dec. 20. After that date, COSI officials plan to evaluate and possibly alter those hours.

After closing in March at the outset of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, COSI Columbus has revealed its plans to welcome back the public.

The science museum, at 333 W. Broad St. west of downtown Columbus along the Scioto River, announced Oct. 13 its intentions to open Nov. 20 with health and safety measures in place. Those include mandated masks for employees and guests, timed admission in which visitors must reserve their tickets online prior to arrival and additional cleaning and sanitation protocols.

“Our hope is that people want to come to enjoy all that COSI has to offer,” said COSI president and CEO Frederic Bertley.

COSI initially will be open three days a week – Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays – from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Dec. 20. After about a month, COSI officials plan to evaluate attendance to decide whether to open for more days each week beginning in 2021.

COSI was scheduled to reopen in July, but leaders canceled that plan at the last minute as coronavirus cases surged in Franklin County.

Bertley said he is confident in the safety procedures his team has implemented as they become one of the final institutions in the city to reopen. Many places – including the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, the Columbus Museum of Art, the National Veterans Memorial and Museum, and the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens –have been open since summer with similar safety measures in place.

COSI is no different from their peer institutions in that officials will follow guidelines from both the state and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in implementing safeguards against COVID-19. Bertley said that COSI attendance – which in the past could reach as much as 5,000 on a busy weekend s will be capped at 1,250, and all employees will have their temperatures checked each day.

COSI also installed a UV-C photohydroionization air sterilization system, which uses ultraviolet light within the building's heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system to kill germs, viruses and bacteria and produce safe ionized hydroperoxide.

“Most paramount is the safety of our guests and team,” Bertley said. “We’ve analyzed data locally and nationally on foot traffic and trends in indoor spaces. That, coupled with our new technology to circulate the best and cleanest air, makes us feel very comfortable now to provide a safe experience.”

In an effort to make up for lost time, COSI has extended the run of ¡Cuba!, which explores the history, culture and biodiversity of the island through Jan. 3. A new exhibit, "Doc McStuffins: The Exhibit," based on the Disney Junior series, also will be open through Jan. 3.

Both exhibits are included with general admission or a COSI membership. However, some exhibits and attractions will not be open if deemed incompatible with safe-distancing requirements. That includes the National Geographic Giant Screen Theater, the Gadgets Stage, the motion simulator, the high-wire unicycle, the submarine in the Ocean exhibition and the Mercury capsule in the Space exhibition.

elagatta@dispatch.com

@EricLagatta