Concerning the Albany Senior Center, closed for a year because of covid, one question might be what it has in common with a hookah bar.
City Parks and Recreation Director Kim Lyddane points to the “guidance chart” of the Oregon Health Authority as one reason the center remains closed and seniors shut out: “Hookah bars and senior centers are not allowed to operate regardless of risk level,” says the state, complete with bold-face type.
But what about the future?
“Many seniors have lost their only way of socializing due to the senior center in Albany being closed due to covid-19,” writes Barbara Dugger in an email. “We have heard rumors galore about it NOT reopening. We are extremely concerned it will not.”
She notes that like her, many of the people who used the center consistently have lived in Albany for 30, 40 or more years and contributed to the community in many ways, including by paying taxes.
“Even if it cost a nominal amount to keep having a place for people to gather and socialize often, I am sure that would be more acceptable to the people who have depended upon it for their only means of socializing than the center NOT reopening.”
Lyddane, the parks chief, has no specifics to answer that concern. But in view of budget-related cutbacks in her department, she said, “We may need to make some modifications to ensure that we are generating enough revenue. We are still working through what that could look like.”
But it does not sound like the city has any plans to keep the center closed.
“We are hopeful,” Lyddane wrote, “that we will be able to get people back in the building for drop-in programs this summer. We will just have to wait on the cases and OHA guidelines. We can’t wait to be back open all of the time as the building has been far too quiet for far too long.”
And as for hookah bars? One of the websites on the subject published this photo of one, credited to Getty Images, over the caption: What to expect at a hookah bar. (hh)