Seniors gathered at the Williams Lake and District Seniors Activity Centre for some games of bridge. The centre was closed Monday afternoon for 30 days due to the COVID-19 outbreak. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Seniors Activity Centre closed for 30 days in Williams Lake due to COVID-19 concerns

Glenda Winger is hoping the move will keep seniors safe

The Williams Lake and District Seniors Activity Centre is closing its doors for 30 days, effective Monday, March 16 at 3 p.m.

With tears in her eyes, WLDSAC manager Glenda Winger said Monday afternoon the closure is needed to keep seniors safe from the COVID-19 outbreak.

“We’re dearly going to miss having this place,” Winger said of the centre. “It is basically my whole life. And I know that a lot of volunteers and a lot of the seniors that come here, whether its daily or weekly basis, rely on the centre, and I hate to not be able to see them but I want all of our seniors in the Cariboo to stay as safe as possible.”

Winger said they hope to reopen the centre after a month’s time and asked everyone to help seniors in the community during this crisis.

Read More: ‘It’s going to be hard’: B.C. bans gatherings of 50+ people to slow COVID-19 transmission

“I recommend that anyone who has a neighbour to please check on your neighbour and make sure they have everything they need – food, basic supplies. And I really hope that there are not people out there that are going to take advantage of seniors in this time of need.”

SAC director and member Ingrid Vickers said though difficult, she believes closing the centre is the right thing to do.

“We’re sad, but for everyone’s safety we have to. We don’t want to lose anyone.”

The closure will also include the temporary cancellation of the Better at Home program for seniors, said Kimberly Futcher, program coordinator.

Futcher said she and Winger will be checking messages for the Better at Home program once at week at 778-412-2430 and the centre at 250-392-7946.

Read More: B.C. hospitals start cancelling elective surgeries in COVID-19 preparations

She noted Better at Home clients will still receive the assistance they need this month, however, they will not be accepting new clients during the closure. Futcher is also one of a growing number of volunteers who posted on Facebook that they are willing to help seniors get groceries or other items they need to their homes.

Futcher and Winger added it is important that seniors only ask a reliable source for help.

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Williams Lake and District Seniors Activity Centre manager Glenda Winger said concerns surrounding COVID-19 has forced the cancellation of the centre for the next 30 days. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

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