Lawrence Senior Center re-opens after COVID-19

Lawrence Senior Center

The Lawrence Senior Center welcomed back its seniors – on a limited basis and with limited capacity – on July 7, after being closed for more than 15 months because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Lawrence Senior Center on Darrah Lane is being re-opened to seniors on the same day the Lawrence Township Municipal Building is being re-opened to the public.

“We have missed you tremendously and look forward to seeing you,” Lillian LaSalle, the executive director of the Lawrence Senior Center, said in a message to the senior citizens. “Please know that we appreciate your time, patience and understanding while we move forward with a soft re-opening of the senior center.”

Some temporary changes are being made as the senior center welcomes back its constituents, aimed at keeping the seniors safe, while also encouraging them to socialize and interact with their peers, Lawrence Township officials said.

Initially, only a few classes and programs will be offered. Participation in those activities, which is limited to Lawrence residents, will require registration in advance by calling the Lawrence Senior Center at 609-844-7048.

Before the seniors can enter the Lawrence Senior Center, their temperature will be checked. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or who has recently had a temperature of 100.4 degrees will not be permitted to go inside, township officials said.

Once a senior citizen has been screened and allowed to enter, he or she will be issued an identification card and a lanyard to hold it in place. The lanyard and identification card will be collected when the senior leaves for the day, and re-issued on the next visit.

Face masks or face coverings are mandatory while the seniors are moving around in the senior center. Once the senior is situated and seated at a safe distance from others, the mask can be removed, township officials said.

Seniors are encouraged to wash or sanitize their hands before entering a room. They are also being asked to wash or sanitize their hands frequently while they are at the senior center and after coming into contact with others.

Only a few rooms will be open to the seniors: the computer room, the multi-purpose rooms, the game room and the bathrooms. Seniors should not wander around the building or enter the main office, officials said.

To maintain social distancing, up to 30 people may gather in the multi-purpose room. The capacity in the computer room is three people, and up to eight people can sit in the game room.

The Lawrence Senior Center van will transport up to three seniors at one time.

“Grab and go” lunches will continue to be offered during the soft opening, and meals will be distributed outdoors. No one may eat lunch inside the building. Pre-registration is required for meals.

In addition, food may not be brought into the Lawrence Senior Center, with the exception of water, coffee and tea. Light refreshments will be served by the center’s staff during the morning and afternoon socialization programs.