The St. James Senior Center will reopen on June 1 after closing in April due to COVID-19 precautions. The facility will slowly bring back some of its many programs, including daily lunches, over the coming months.
“We are going to open the Senior Center on June 1,” Director Nancy Montgomery said. “That first month, we are going to have a trial period to see how many people will show up, what type of activities they want us to have, and then we will just go from there.”
She anticipates lunches to be the biggest program seniors want as it gives them a chance to eat a low-cost, nutritious meal with others from the community.
“Hopefully we can kick it in gear and get into full speed,” Montgomery said. She added she has received a lot of community feedback asking for the facility to reopen, but the safety of those visiting it takes priority and the facility has been closed for nearly a month.
“I see them in the grocery stores asking, ‘When are you going to reopen the senior center?’ Or ‘When can we come and eat?’ Or ‘I like the crocheting class.’ That’s the whole idea behind the senior center is to encourage people and to psychologically and socially engage them. Maybe they don’t have family members close by and we’re their family.” Montgomery said.
Once the facility reopens, programs will slowly be reintroduced with an emphasis on public safety. There will most likely be a limit to the amount of people allowed in the building at one time to practice social distancing measures and the sanitization of tables and areas where people interact will be a priority. Montgomery said activities such as chair yoga, painting with Hazel Shoemate, and more will slowly come back as statewide restrictions are lifted in the coming months.
Safety, she added, will always be priority number one and the facility will be following guidelines from the state and local health departments as it allows people to utilize the building again. “It’s an engaging place for them to be and it keeps them active and going and we care about them,” Montgomery explained. “It’s stuff we need to be able to offer them to keep them healthy.”
The closure has given time for the facility to get a repainting and cleaning and Montgomery is excited to bring guests in again. The facility will operate during regular business hours of 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday for lunches, and activities taking place during the hours of 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., with the calendar of activities to be announced once the facility reopens.
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