INDIO, Calif. - The month of June marked a sign of the times; June 15 was the first time in more than a year the state of California scrapped most of its pandemic-era restrictions, allowing the economy to fully reopen without capacity limitations and guidance for social distancing. Businesses around the state and in the Coachella Valley followed suit.
The Indio Senior Center was among the latest to announce its grand reopening for Monday, June 21.
"We have already about 115 seniors that signed up. They're anxious and ready to come back again," community program administrator of the Indio Senior Center, Argelia Jimenez said.
The center officially closed its doors on March 16, 2020 as the pandemic took off.
"I do the virtual loteria, we do Tai chi, we do art. We’re trying to continue to do the things we normally did," said president of the Indio Senior Center, Sylvia Tenorio.
Tenorio takes part in the games herself, and has been calling the 'loteria' through virtual Zoom calls that are streamed on Facebook. She's now counting down the days and has been ready to welcome members back for some in-person interaction.
"People are like, 'Sylvia, when are you going to open up the center? I’m just so bored,'" Tenorio said.
The pandemic has hit the senior community particularly hard considering they are among the most vulnerable populations.
"In our system we have about 1,500. Regularly high peak, we would have about 300 people that would come and utilize the center. During the summer it would go a little bit down, but ever since the closure and now the soft opening, we have about 115 seniors that signed up. They’re anxious and ready to come back again, utilize the center, attend class," said Jimenez.
And as temperatures climb dangerously high, the site also acts as a cooling center for those wanting to escape the heat.
"The resources that it offers is a place to be away from the heat, so a safe place where you can come and feel comfortable," Jimenez said.
Seniors who are interested in registering can do so at: https://www.indio.org/your_government/community_services/senior/default.htm.
Masks will still be required in accordance with the city of Indio, according to Jimenez. Members will only be admitted by appointment only. For those wanting to become a member, the fee for Indio residents is $25. For outside residents the fee is $35.
The center opens from 7:30 a.m. and closes at 4:30 p.m.