~ PVN staff report
LURAY — More than two years ago, the doors of the Page County Senior Center shuttered at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, as society as a whole begins to deal with the ongoing threat of the virus, the local senior center in Luray is trying to get back to “business as usual.”
“Our centers have basically been closed since March 2020. We are extremely excited about this announcement and will reopen our facilities from a health and safety perspective. This would not have been possible without the commitment and compassion of Seniors First staff,” said Jimmy Roberts, Executive Director of Seniors First, the Shenandoah Area Agency on Aging.
Seniors First operates senior centers in six locations throughout the northern Shenandoah Valley, including Luray, the City of Winchester, and the counties of Clarke, Frederick, Shenandoah and Warren.
“It’s time to learn to live with COVID-19 and all the variants,” reads a press release that the organization sent out to announce its grand reopening at all six locations on Tuesday, April 19. “After being closed for an extended period due to COVID-19, Seniors First, The Shenandoah Area Agency on Aging announces that all senior centers will reopen.”
Although a “soft opening” was held on March 28, only existing “clients” or visitors were allowed at the agency’s six facilities. On Tuesday, new visitors will be welcome again, and they are encouraged to call ahead so a meal will be prepared for them.
“Our number one goal is the health and safety of our participants. The centers have received a thorough cleaning and sanitizing to meet CDC and VDH guidelines,” the press release of the grand opening reads. “Designated personnel will be onsite to address high-touch areas (door handles, railings, desks) throughout the day. Hand sanitizing stations will be placed throughout senior centers and air purifiers have been installed to assist with clean air flow.”
In addition to the above-mentioned services, meals may be provided to seniors who do not feel comfortable returning to on-site facilities. Senior Center staff will coordinate and continue supporting daily meal needs.
Clients are welcome to visit any of the re-opened centers to socialize. Staff and instructor-led programs are scheduled to resume when senior centers open at full capacity.
“We do have educational programs, arts and crafts, and other things to do,” said Allison Mondell, Development Manager at Seniors First, “and sometimes that includes a visit from a therapy dog.”
No temperature or daily health checks are required to visit any of the re-opened centers. However, please stay home if you feel ill. Participants will be required to sign a liability waiver to visit senior centers.
Over the last three weeks, Seniors First has been making the final preparations to welcome new visitors after such a long hiatus. They are hoping that participation will rise, as numbers had dropped at the Luray location to less than a dozen prior to the pandemic.
The Page County Senior Center is located adjacent to the East Luray Shopping Center at 10 Second Street, Luray. The Center is open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
New visitors wishing to take advantage of meals, socialization, activities or events at the Senior Center in Luray, may contact Manager Amy Courtney at (540) 743-1241 or email [email protected]
For more information about Seniors First, the Shenandoah Area Agency on Aging,
visit www.seniorsfirst.info for specific information.