SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Businesses in the Red River District are still taking a hit as Louisiana slowly re-opens. Sci-port and Shreveport Aquarium are trying to keep their doors open and keep their customers safe while doing so.
“If this was to close, if we weren’t able to open our doors anymore not just Shreveport-Bossier, but the whole region would be dramatically impacted STEM education-wise,” said Lou Papai, programs and education manager for Sci-Port Discovery Center.
Sci-Port Discovery Center is a staple in the Shreveport-Bossier community, but they are struggling to keep their doors open.
“We want to ease back into it so that everybody can still visit us, but we can also be cognizant of trying to pay our own bills and stuff. Let’s face it we all want to survive, and we want all our businesses to survive all of them, restaurants, museums everything.”
Sci-Port was approved for the Paycheck Protection Loan from the Small Business Administration.
But they’re still feeling the effects of the stay at home order.
“And our’s has ended, we use ours by the end of the month which we were targeted to do before it was extended.”
Now, they have to rely on ticket sales as income for the center.
“That’s how we pay our staff, that’s how we’re able to pay the bills, the lights, all that. So you know, it’s critical that you start visiting all businesses, but especially Sci-Port we don’t want to lose this treasure in our region,” said Papai.
Across Clyde Fant, the general manager at the Shreveport Aquarium says they’ve been able to stay afloat during the pandemic.
“We’re not setting the world on fire, but we’re keeping the doors open, we’re keeping our staff safe, we’re keeping our guest safe, we’re keeping the animals well and thats the best that we can ask for right now,” said Jason Coffel, general manager of Shreveport Aquarium.
Coffel says safety is their biggest priority.
“As long as we can keep everything clean and sanitized, and as long we can keep everyone to a social distance, and as long we can keep everybody’s face covered, I think we’re going to be fine.”
It now costs $10 to enter the Sci-Port center and the Imax Theater.
Both facilities say they have stepped up their sanitation and require all staff and customers age five and older to wear a mask before entering their businesses.
And both businesses are fully open to the public.