Senior Centers Talk Reopening And Regulations

Nico Payne

As California gears up to reopen in mid-June, senior centers across the Coachella Valley are also making preparations to welcome members back.

Some even plan on reopening before June 15th, and when they do many precautions will be in place.

“A lot of them are so happy that we are going to be able to be inside again and we are going to be able to have that cup of coffee and cookie you know. and be able to chit chat for a little, so everybody is excited,” said Thommy Kocan, Food Bank Coordinator for Cathedral City Senior Center.

The Cathedral City Senior Center and Mizell Center in Palm Springs will be opening their doors on June 15th, lining with the state reopening date.

And depending on which senior center you visit, proof of vaccination may or may not be required.

“We’re going to have temperature checks at the door, and we will have reduced class sizes to accommodate social distancing. folks who are vaccinated and can bring proof of their vaccination cars won’t have to wear their masks but otherwise, we’ll encourage everybody to wear a mask even if they have been vaccinated and would just prefer to have a mask on,” Rebecca Ruffing, Associate Director with Cathedral City Senior Center.

The Joslyn Center in Palm Desert will not be requiring proof of vaccination and will be opening a bit earlier on June 7th. A reopening celebration is planned for June 2nd where health resources will be on hand, members are being asked to make reservations as operations will be limited.

“We determined not to require proof of vaccination but to wear the masks, temperature checks. we are only utilizing three of our largest rooms and there will be capacity restrictions, and this is based on the discussion we’ve had with the county department of health because we are dealing with a very vulnerable population,” said Jack Newby, Executive Director of Joslyn Center.

And after being closed for over 14 months, senior centers in the Coachella Valley described what they missed the most and what they feel their members are looking forward to the most.

“We know that seniors, older adults, and probably even younger adults like you, have been isolated a lot during this pandemic and so for senior and older adults especially, that can have profound impacts on their health,” explained Newby.

“Not being able to be close and intimate friendship-wise, that’s been very hard, and if it’s been that hard on me, I can’t imagine what it’s like for a senior person who is facing senior isolation. I can’t imagine what that must be like and I’m so excited we can come back,” added Newby.

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