Senior centers may reopen soon

Senior citizens center. (PNC file photo)

The senior citizen community centers have been closed since the beginning of the pandemic but lately, there has been talks about re-opening these facilities soon for the island’s manamkos.

The Governor’s “Path-to-Half” initiative is still on track even with the recent spike of COVID-19 cases. But what about one of our most vulnerable communities — our manamkos and their senior citizen centers?

Piti Mayor and President of the Mayors Council Jesse Alig tells PNC that though there are no set dates, there have been discussions of the senior citizens centers’ possible reopening.

“Our priority, together with the Governor and the Division of Senior Citizens is the safety of our manamkos. We’re not sure when we’re going to be open but the Governor will let us know and give advance notice and we can let our senior citizens know as well. We can only open, of course, if we can have them socially distanced properly, and of course with face mask,” Alig said.

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Another issue about opening up the senior centers is that they don’t want the island’s senior citizens waiting for long periods of time.

“We know their character and if we open it, and we say the capacity is 50 and we’re at 40, and then a group of 20 come in and want to come in and join us, how do we tell the 10 to go because we can only take 50? It’ll just be chaos and war there and nobody wants to fight with an elder. Nobody wants to fight with a senior citizen because our manamko is always right,” Alig said.

Alig says he met with the Governor just before she gave her island-wide address on the recent rise of the positive COVID-19 cases.

So far, they have not had any further discussions on reopening the centers.

He adds that it is still premature to speak about the re-openings and will revisit the topic at another time when the island is back to a much better state during the pandemic.