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NYC senior centers reopening this month with in-person programming

Seniors eat lunch at the Chinese-American Planning Council’s Open Door Senior Center, in Manhattan’s Chinatown, where attendance has dropped since the coronavirus outbreak. (Photo: Gabriel Sandoval/THE CITY)

With New York City reaching a record low number of new COVID-19 cases, senior centers are finally coming back, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday. 

Older New Yorkers can resume outdoor activities at senior centers immediately and can begin taking part in indoor activities in two weeks on June 14.

On June 1, officials reported the city’s overall COVID-19 positivity rate had fallen to the lowest it has been since the pandemic began in March 2020, at 0.83%. 

The mayor attributed the low positivity rate to New Yorkers’ commitment to abide by COVID-19 health and safety guidelines such as maintaining social distance and wearing masks as well the vaccine. So far, 8,289,469 doses of the vaccine have been administered across the five boroughs. 

“We’ll be careful, we’ll be safe,” de Blasio told New Yorkers listening to his almost daily pandemic press conference. “We are going to make sure there’s smart distancing to keep our senior centers safe but the time is now.” 

Seniors, and particularly older people of color, have borne the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic and has been shown to especially deadly to adults 60 years or older with underlying health conditions. 

Manhattan City Council Member Margaret Chin, chair for the Council’s Committee on Aging, spoke to how excited some seniors are at the idea of senior centers reopening during the mayor press conference. 

“Every time I run into them or they call my office they say ‘when are we going to open our center I want to see my friends … I want to do the exercise program, the art program, the cooking program,” Chin said. “They are really looking forward to this.” 

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