It’s doubtful that area seniors will be sitting down for a chicken paprikash lunch or enjoying a game of bingo on Sept. 21 at any of the eight senior centers.
That Monday has been designated as the date that senior centers and adult daycares may open after being closed since March because of coronavirus concerns.
But there are too many unknowns and not enough direction, Denise Niese, executive director of the Wood County Committee on Aging, told board members on Wednesday at the monthly meeting.
“What we still have not received is any guidelines or requirements,” she said. “There’s lots of frustration with the opening being announced, but not giving us the requirements.”
What they have seen is concerning, Niese said.
Testing may be required before any seniors enter a center, she said, adding that she talked with the director of the Ohio Department of Aging last week.
“She did not deny that, nor did she tell us how we’d be paid for it,” Niese said of testing. “Bottom line, on Friday … she could not give us any guidelines, or tell us when guidelines will be released.”
According to DeWine’s Responsible Restart Ohio plan for Adult Day and Senior Centers, a phone screening must also be done before seniors enter the building.
“Well, a lot of our seniors don’t have cell phones, so we’ll have to do screening before they leave their house,” she said.
The Ohio Department of Aging is holding a webinar on Friday at 1 p.m. and Niese hopes to get more guidelines.
That will give staff 10 calendar days to get things put together, she said.
Niese also said that she has shared the local restart plan with Ben Robison, the new Wood County health commissioner.
“He’s fine with our restart plan,” she said.
When the official approval is given to open, Niese said that not all eight Wood County senior centers will open at once.
Bowling Green will be first because is the largest and has the most staff. It is expected hours will be 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
After a “two-week lookback,” other sites will be open. Staff from the Bowing Green location will be dispatched to help with opening the other centers, Niese said.
They will also be prepared to close again, if needed.
“If we turn into a red county, as categorized by the state, everything shuts down,” she said.
Wood County is currently at a level 2. The state updates levels on Thursdays.
Also at the meeting, board members said they hope to hold the Oct. 14 meeting in person at the Bowling Green Senior Center.