The agency to reopen includes centers in Dover, Claymont (Uhrichsville), Garaway (Sugarcreek), Mineral City, Newcomerstown, and Westchester. Each Senior Center will operate at a 50% capacity to adhere to the current Ohio Department of Health Senior Center order that was effective September 21, 2020.
Smith, with the support of the Senior Center Board of Directors, has created a re-open plan with the goal of operating Phase 1 at a 50% capacity restriction. Additionally, all precautions will continue to be observed such as wearing masks while on-premises, scheduling appointments to utilize the gym and walking track at the Dover site, playing cards, and BINGO. The Dover site will also begin serving breakfast in the Myron Phillips Banquet Center on Fridays beginning April 16 from 8:00 am-9:30 am. The Happy Day’s Café will open on Monday, April 12 from 10:30 am-1:00 pm and operate Monday through Friday.
The Senior Center will also open up the Myron Phillips Banquet Center for weddings and events such as graduation parties, class reunions, and bridal/baby showers. The maximum number of individuals permitted in the hall will be 250. The Social Room will also be opened and available for rent with 30 individuals permitted. All special event guests will be required to wear masks except while eating and drinking.
The county-wide satellites that serve the Sugarcreek, Newcomerstown, Mineral City, Uhrichsville/Dennison, and Westchester communities will also be opening their doors on April 5. Each center will offer different activities so it is recommended to contact the satellite and request additional information.
Additional activities at the agency to reopen will relaunch in Phase 2 as of July 6, 2021. Capacity requirements will increase to 75% of fire code with possible social distancing and mask requirements continuing. Phase 2 will also allow for the Dover site to offer the traditional ‘day trips’ for anyone interested in experiencing a Steamboat ride down the Ohio River in Marietta or visiting the Glass Museum in West Virginia, just to name a few. Furthermore, the excursion travel will resume with the first scheduled trip in August to Charleston & Beckley West Virginia for a two-day trip. There are an additional 5 excursion trips planned for 2021 including Vermont, Iceland, Mackinac Island, Michigan, Virginia Beach, and Branson, Missouri. In addition, the congregate lunches will resume in Phase 2 if permitted by the Ohio Department of Health directors order.
“The pandemic has truly created a hardship for many of our seniors who depend upon our centers for their daily dose of socialization. The closure of the centers has only increased the isolation of our seniors and we know that seniors are more productive and active when they are able to socialize with others. We are excited to see our friends back in the buildings and we will try to create our new normal” expressed Smith. The Senior Center transportation will be scheduling seniors age 60 and over to join us at the Senior Centers. Rides can be arranged by calling 330.364.6688.
Smith wants to remind the community that no one will be permitted to enter the building if they are not feeling well or experiencing any of the following symptoms; fever, cough, sneezing, runny nose, headache, loss of smell or taste, sore throat, or muscle pain. All visitors and staff will be required to wear a mask at all times. All activities will be by appointment only as ‘drop-ins’ will not be permitted, and socially distant activities will be required.
“It is important for everyone in our community to understand that the COVID pandemic is ever-changing and inconsistent meaning our planned phase opening may be deterred if positive cases increase dramatically within our county or our staffs’ health and wellness are compromised because of the virus, “ shared Smith. “Our goal is to open slowly while protecting our staff and our members which is our highest priority.” If at any time Tuscarawas County downgrades to RED or PURPLE on the Risk Scale by ODH, the Senior Center doors across the county will be closed to the public until Orange is achieved.
For more information on the re-open plans for any of the Senior Center sites across Tuscarawas County, please contact the executive director, Jamie L. Smith at 330.364.6611. The Senior Center Facebook page is an excellent source of information on the latest news surrounding the events and happenings at all of the sites.