Park City Seniors Reunite For First Sit-down Lunch In More Than A Year
After more than a year of to-go lunches, Park City seniors finally got to reunite for their first sitdown meal last week.
With around 97% of Summit County residents over the age of 70 vaccinated, the Park City Senior Center has started to allow members back in for certain activities, including lunch.
Judy Maedel is the president of the board for Park City’s Senior Services. She said members have met up during the pandemic, and sometimes ate their lunches outside, but that slowed down during the winter.
During their first sitdown meal in over a year last week, around 25 members came to the Park City Clubhouse.
"It was nice and exciting to see some of the people we haven't seen in a long time," Maedel said. "So we have one member, who hasn't been coming and we haven't seen him for probably two years. And he came and everybody had to go out and talk to him. He was so happy to be here. So it was a good feeling."
In pre-pandemic times, as many as 40 seniors would show up for their $3 county-sponsored lunch. But member Bea Burnett said the smaller turn-out for their first lunch might not be completely connected to COVID-19 concerns.
"And I imagine that'll pick up, you know, as the weather cooperates a little better," Burnett said. "Some people don't like to come out in the snow. And who knows July 4, that might snow. But I think when the weather is more consistent, they'll feel more like coming out and knowing that nothing has happened here, COVID wise."
The Senior Center hosted bingo and art events online. In the era of Zoom during the pandemic, many people quickly adapted virtual meet-ups.
But some older folks had a tougher time figuring out how to work video calls, including Senior Center member Peggy Fletcher, who still has a flip phone.
"Some of us are technically challenged ... myself … and so the Zoom and any of these new methods I can't quite get my head around and I'm certain I probably never will," Fletcher said.
More tech-savvy members helped set up computers, and some even met in small groups to Zoom into virtual events sponsored by the center.
For now, bingo and art nights will remain online. But if new COVID cases remain low, Maedel said more services can resume in-person including trips.
"We actually had a set of trips for every one for every month when all this happened, so they're all gone." Maedel said. "And they want to go back and do this. And see how we go see that the numbers don't come up. And if numbers stay low, then they'll start planning trips for more things for the seniors as a county."
Because the Senior Center is run by the county, they can’t require masks or vaccines. Maedel said she can only think of three out of 207 members who have opted out of getting vaccinated.
She said there’s low enough risk in the club house that they feel comfortable not wearing masks. If people are feeling sick, she says most members keep on their face coverings or stay home.