In a joint announcement Thursday, Mayor Jacqueline M. Izzo and Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri officially reopened their respective city halls as well as senior centers, beginning Tuesday, June 1.
The re-opening plans follow conversations with local and public health officials, both mayors stated. In regards to re-opening senior centers, both Izzo and Palmieri said they have been “extensively engaged” with health officials since last fall, as the issue involved the most vulnerable COVID-19 population.
In order for senior centers to re-open, they must craft re-opening safety plans and implement appropriate measures to help mitigate the spread of the virus.
The re-opening plans from eachrespective senior center must be approved by the county Health Department prior to the center re-opening.
Residents are encouraged to call the respective senior center they usually attend to learn more about the days and hours of operation, and what programming will be available.
Susan Streeter, executive director of Copper City Community Connection, 305 E. Locust St., said she received the “OK” to open the center Monday, May 24 and plans to do so.
“I’m so excited. It’s time to see old friends, and I know members are very excited,” Streeter said. “The rules are pretty stringent, and we’re only open for members at this time. But that’s OK, because that means we’re getting back to some sort of normal life.”
The executive director said CCCC has continued to plan events and programming for the summer months and will be “ready to roll things out” once the center doors open. “We will continue to do our outdoor and indoor events, and now for our outdoor events, if the weather doesn’t cooperate, we can move them inside,” said Streeter.
As for preparing the center to be a clean and safe environment for seniors, “We have everything laid out and disinfectants in place,” she said. “I also added additional hours for our maintenance team to make sure everything is clean and in order. We have a good handle on the things that need to be done.”
While City Hall and senior centers will be open to the public, public health guidelines such as mask wearing and social distancing will continue to be required.
“Our seniors have long awaited the re-opening of their senior centers and we could not be more thrilled that the centers will soon return, providing a safe environment which nurtures vital senior activities like exercise, meal programs, activities and most importantly, opportunities to socialize in a healthy setting,” said Izzo in a statement. “Our city departments have not missed a beat providing services during the pandemic. We are pleased to re-open our government facilities with proper virus mitigation protocols in place. I would like to thank Mayor Palmieri for his wonderful partnership throughout this public health emergency, and our partnership will continue as we bring our cities back to a full sense of normalcy.”
Palmieri said the re-opening of City Hall and senior centers was another positive step forward in communities responsibly returning to quality-of-life activities and every-day amenities.
“I thank Mayor Izzo for her continued partnership as we will continue to work together, and in coordination with other public officials, to promote the health and safety of our residents,” he said.