by: Beth Rousseau
TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Thousands of Hillsborough County seniors who have been separated for years are reuniting on Monday.
Three of the county’s senior centers are reopening for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
“There’s nothing normal about Monday. Monday is the day seniors and our staff have been waiting for, 2 years and 2 months,” said Mary Jo McKay with Aging Services.
Staff tried virtual activities and outdoor events, but McKay admits those aren’t the same as face-to-face interactions.
“Looking at each other through the computer, through your smart phones it was okay for a little while, but that’s gotten really old very fast,” she said.
According to McKay, isolation is a big concern for the 3,000 seniors they serve because it can lead to other health issues.
She says county leaders planned to reopen the centers sooner but there was an increase in Omicron cases.
“Our seniors are our most vulnerable population and we did lose a significant number of our seniors to COVID. We wanted to make sure that when we brought them back they were back to stay,” McKay said.
She can’t wait to see familiar faces filling the following locations starting Monday.
- 8701 Progress Boulevard, Tampa
- 905 6th Street SE, Ruskin
- 1205 Waller Street, Plant City
McKay says they’ll be opening four or five locations every two weeks.
Their goal is to have all the centers open again by the end of June.