Businesses around the South Sound are opening the doors to their air-conditioned space today as local governments seek “cooling centers” for citizens who do not have their own air-conditioned residential spaces.

National Weather Service has declared an excessive heat warning for the whole region until 11 p.m. tonight, so Pierce County Department of Emergency Management is reminding everyone to stay out of the heat as much as they can.

Movie theaters, local malls and other large stores, as well as all Pierce County libraries are open. Various community centers in Spanaway, Fife, Buckley Bonney Lake, Lakewood, east Tacoma, Anderson Island and Gig Harbor have been opened. The complete list is at this link.

Additionally, all Petsmart and Lowe’s stores will welcome people and their domesticated pets to come in and get out of the heat. Animals need to be on a leash or in a crate, and their owners must provide water to the pets, if they plan on being in the store for long periods. The VCA facility at 10324 Pacific Ave. in Spanaway will also be open around-the-clock for pet and owner accommodations.