19-05-10 senior connection 4.jpg

The Senior Connection in Hailey shifted its meal program to home delivery when the pandemic began.

The Senior Connection will reopen its dining room on July 6, with strict reopening protocols in place.

The dining room has for many years provided buffet lunches, performances and socializing for hundreds of senior citizens in the Wood River Valley.

“Our senior citizens will now be able to come and have lunch with their friends,” said Ramona Duke, community relations manager for the Senior Connection.

Duke said there will be no lectures, field classes, bingo or other events usually hosted by the Senior Connection.

“We will have food servers instead of a buffet line, and we will ask that people sit at the same tables every day so we can create socializing bubbles,” she said.

The safety protocols will include health screenings before entering the building, require face masks until a diner reaches his or her assigned table and make hand washing mandatory.

The Connection has divided its lunch service into two time periods and reservations are required.

When the first confirmed case of COVID-19 was announced in Blaine County, the Senior Connection immediately closed the facility and converted to its no-contact service plans. Throughout the months of isolation orders, it grew its home-delivered meal service from 125 meals per week to 600.

The nonprofit also added new services to assist seniors staying safe at home such as curbside to-go meals (with over 150 picked up per week), supplemental food bags, grocery and prescription pick-up and a Senior Friend Line that people could call into and chat with a staff member.

“Though our service model changed, our mission did not,” Executive Director Teresa Beahen Lipman said. “We have always been a community that supports our seniors, and they have needed us this year more than ever.”

The Senior Connection has scheduled moving to the next stage of its reopening protocols on Aug. 3, but all plans are subject to change in response to infection rates in Blaine County.

Full details on the Senior Connection’s reopening protocols can be found at seniorconnectionidaho.org/reopening-july-6-phase-one-protocols.

Email the writer: tevans@mtexpress.com

Load comments