Harford County’s senior activity centers will begin reopening on Monday, May 3, by appointment only, County Executive Barry Glassman’s office announced.
Senior centers in Maryland have been closed for almost 14 months, since Gov. Larry Hogan ordered them closed in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Hogan announced April 1 that senior centers across the state were allowed to reopen with COVID-19 guidelines in place by the end of April.
“COVID-19 has been especially hard on seniors and we are excited for their safe return to our centers,” Glassman said in a prepared statement. “I know our staff is looking forward to welcoming members back almost as much as members are looking forward to resuming activities and socializing with their peers. We will continue to follow safety protocols and look forward to reopening fully in the near future.”
Reopening in Harford County will occur in phases. The first phase, starting new week, calls for limited activities and appointments that will be available on a first-come, first-served basis on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., according to the announcement.
Members are asked to call their local center to confirm which activities are being offered and to book an appointment time. Contact information for Harford County’s senior centers is available on the Harford County government website or by calling 410-638-3025.
All senior center members will be required to wear a mask and practice social distancing as well as sign a COVID-19 waiver, according to the announcement. Additional safety procedures and protocols will be in place.
The centers will have a touchscreen attendance tracking system with membership ID cards. The new system will make it “quick and easy” for all members to check in and out of the center each day, and will also support federal funding for senior centers by tracking attendance data, according to the county’s announcement.
The Office on Aging has also adopted a new online system that features senior center class registration, class catalogs, and membership renewal.
The senior centers will be closed on Tuesday and Thursdays through the end of June, as staff there continues to support vaccination efforts in partnership with the county’s health department, Upper Chesapeake Health and local pharmacies. Seniors who need help scheduling a COVID-19 vaccine can contact the Office on Aging at 410-638-3025.
Beginning in July, the county plans for the senior centers to be open five days a week, with mask and social distancing requirements still in place. All activities that the county is able to schedule will be offered, with the exception of paid classes. It also plans to offer boxed lunches and introduce Harford Transit services to and from the centers based on demand and availability.
Paid classes will be offered beginning in October and Harford Transit will provide bus services, according to the plan.
For more information about the senior centers reopening, visit www.harfordcountymd.gov/seniorcenter.