Council on Aging discusses reopening plans for July and August

WESTFIELD- The Council on Aging July 12 discussed the plan for getting Senior Center operators back to normal over the next few months while the COVID-19 pandemic remains at bay.

TINA GORMAN, Westfield Council on Aging executive director

COA Director Tina Gorman said that curbside lunches would continue through the first week of August, Mondays through Fridays. She said three fitness programs currently take place under the outdoor tents in the morning, and eight programs are being brought back for the afternoon.

As July moves forward, Gorman said that pre-registration for all but one of the Senior Center programs would no longer be necessary. For any indoor programs, all persons who attend will need to sign a Release of Liability form.

“We are doing everything we can to keep people as safe as we possibly can,” said Gorman.

Gorman said that August would be “a big transition month.”

When curbside lunches end after the first week of August, there will be one week in which there are no meal services available at the Senior Center. The kitchen crew is being given the week off after having worked for about 17 months in a pandemic. 

“What I want to do for that first week in August is I want to take one of those days and do a kitchen appreciation day,” said Gorman, “17 months of curbside meals has been a long time.”

After Aug. 9, staff will return to the greeters desk, the doors will be unlocked, and the games room and pool table will be open. Gorman said that the coffee program would not return until September. 

Right now Senior Center staff are in the process of clearing out the Great Room, which Gorman said had turned into a “warehouse distribution center” during the pandemic.

When indoor dining returns Aug. 16, Gorman said there will be changes from how it had been conducted before the pandemic. It will be offered every weekday but Wednesday, and will begin with a relatively low capacity until Gorman and Senior Center officials have a better idea of who will be coming back regularly. People will need to call-in ahead of time at 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. to reserve a spot. Wednesdays will have curbside pickup only. 

She said that she has spoken to some seniors who have expressed apprehension about returning to in-person dining.

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