There is good news for older residents of Mason County, as the announcement has been made that the senior citizen centers will reopen after being closed for over a year.
Tuesday, June 22 will be the date that the Gene Salem Center, as well as the Mason Senior Center will reopen doors following the COVID-19 pandemic. The centers closed to the public in mid-March 2020 due to Coronavirus, but continued to serve seniors meals through a grab-and-go lunch system.
According to Renae Riffle, executive director of the Mason County Action Group, Inc., both centers will be open on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Congregate meals will be served at 11:30 a.m. Grab-and-go meals will continue to be handed out during the 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. timeframe for those who are still uncomfortable attending the centers.
For those who are reentering, there will be new guidelines and restrictions imposed, Riffle said. Upon entering, a staff member will take temperatures, and anyone having a fever will be offered a grab-and-go meal. The staff member will also check the attendee in, so a sign-in sheet is not necessary. Those attending will not be required to wear a face mask.
Seniors will have a few rules concerning social distancing. Due to the 6-foot distance required by the CDC, only two people will be permitted to sit at a table, one on each end. The exception is a married couple sitting together, which will allow for three per table.
Meal time will be slightly different, as well. Disposable containers and utensils will be used, and a staff member will deliver meals to the table, along with requested condiments.
Some crafts and activities will resume, however the pool table, gaming system, and exercise equipment will remain unused.
Crafts will be individually packaged, and pieces should not be shared. They will be offered on designated days that will be listed on the monthly calendars.
Bingo will be held on Monday and Friday at the Salem Center, and on Tuesday and Thursday at Mason. Bingo cards will be paper sheets, and daubers will be used so they can be left and sanitized at the end of the day.
Seniors will be able to make reservations for days they plan to attend. If reservations are not made, they will be allowed to attend only if space is available.
“We are anxious to get them back,” said Riffle. “Socialization is a priority for us, as it helps seniors stay active in the community, both mentally and physically.”
For more information on senior centers or services provided, call 304-675-2369.
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Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her a email@example.com