Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey’s mask/face covering mandate expires on Friday, April 9 but it will be a while longer, before senior centers can reopen to serve older citizens.
Tammy McElroy, director of the Marshall County Council on Aging, said Monday the governor’s office must give the official go ahead for all centers to re-open.
“We are under contract through the county to run all the city and county senior centers,” McElroy said. “Until the governor tells us differently, we are not going to reopen any time soon.”
Albertville Senior Center on Broad Activities Director Carolyn Davis announced on Facebook last week the center would reopen to all activities April 12. The center is located at 709 S. Broad St.
“Oh happy days! Our Center on Broad is about to reopen,” she posted last week.
However, McElroy said she would be speaking with center leaders to stop the reopening.
“I know all our seniors want to start going back to the centers again and the sooner the better, but we can’t let one center reopen and not the others,” she said.
Gov. Ivey announced the mask mandate in July 2020. She is now encouraging mask use as “one of the most successful tools we have to keep folks save from Covid-19.”
State Health Officer Scott Harris said there “is nothing magical about the date April 9. We don’t want the public to think that’s the day we all stop taking precautions.”
Since being forced to close a year ago, the Center on Broad has continued to deliver meals to an estimated 50 homebound patrons. About 25 patrons who can come to the center have been picking up meals in a drive-through program, Davis said. Beginning Monday, the drive-through program will end.
Transportation to the center will be available for Friday’s party and for daily activities, Davis said. Call 256-891-8279 by Thursday to request pickup for Friday’s event.
Boaz Senior Center Director Susan Duvall said she continues to wait for approval to reopen the center.
“We haven’t been told we can reopen,” Duvall said.
“The final say as to when we can reopen will come from the Governor and the Department of Senior Services.”
Duvall said as of Monday, the final say-so to reopen nutrition centers hasn’t been given, however, she said there is a chance later in the week plans may change.
“There is nothing that says the powers that be won’t decide on Wednesday or something that we can reopen,” she said.
Duvall said her staff has kept in touch with patrons during the shutdown through calls, newsletters and email. The Center’s buses have continued to take patrons to the grocery and drug stores, doctor appointments and other local destinations. Approximately 45 meals are delivered daily to Boaz citizens, some of which are homebound and others that would have no meals without the service, Duvall said. An additional 25 people per week are being transported within the Boaz City limits to doctor’s appointments, to pay utility bills and to do grocery shopping, the drug store or to Dollar General, Duvall said.
“For some of these people, we are the only transportation they have available,” she said. “Today, all three of our buses were in use and I had to deliver meals in my car. I’m happy to do that to make sure no one goes hungry.”