Next Normal: Visiting TJC’s planetarium during COVID-19 pandemic

The Next Normal: Planetarium

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - If you’re missing seeing something new in the theater, we may have an alternative for you, but only if you can deal with a really big screen. Yes, we’re talking about the planetarium at Tyler Junior College.

WEBXTRA: Visiting TJC's planetarium during COVID-19 pandemic

Beau Hartweg is the director of the TJC Earth and Space Science Center. He tells us they are complying with the COVID-19 guidelines from the Centers for Diseason Control and Prevention. To keep the audience safe in the Next Normal they:

“Do a deep cleaning of all of the theater seats so for each show we have a clean theater. We also have temporarily closed our gift shop and our exhibit hall,” Hartweg said.

Masks are required and even supplied if attendees don’t have one, some rows are blocked off, groups are seated apart from each other and:

“We’ve limited our seating to a total of 20,” Hartweg said.

But if you have family members who’d like to go together but aren’t comfortable in a room with strangers right now, well:

“We also offer the option on Tuesday through Friday at 9:45 for people who’d like to reserve a private show screening. We have that option. It’s $25 for up to 15 guests to take in any show in our show library,” Hartweg said.

There are about 30 to choose from, and since school field trips may not be happening any time soon:

“For those who are maybe doing at-home learning and looking for a planetarium lesson, we have the ability to do live planetarium shows for them as well,” Hartweg said.

But it’s not just a presentation.

“Teachers can make a reservation online and we can do a private virtual show with their class. So students can still interact with us and ask questions, and we can really talk about some of the things the teachers and students are interested in,” Hartweg said.

But if you decide to make ticket reservations and go, well:

“We just have somebody that’s at the door take your name for the reservation, and then we’ll seat you in our planetarium. So it’s a quick and contactless process,” Hartweg said.

One thing’s for sure, as far as social distancing; at the planetarium there is plenty of space.

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