As concerns continue to mount surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis and its potential impact on the community, city of Gainesville and Hall County governments have announced the Gainesville-Hall County Senior Life Center will close at 5 p.m. today, March 16, and remain closed until April 3.
"The Community Service Center (CSC) began making plans to suspend some services three weeks ago. Shelf-stable foods, ordered several days ago, arrived this morning, and we are now confident that our seniors have the provisions they need, allowing us to proceed with the closing of on-site services," said CSC Director Phillippa Lewis Moss. "Of primary concern are the large numbers of older adults the CSC serves each weekday, many of whom have compromised immune systems."
Moss said each senior client in attendance today was given a 15-day supply of shelf-stable foods they can use to replace the hot meal they typically receive at the Senior Life Center on weekdays.
"Senior clients that were not present today will have their 15-day shelf stable supply delivered to their home within the next two days," she said.
Some five hundred Meals on Wheels clients will also receive shelf stables, Moss said.
"Because of the sheer volume of clients and their locations across 410 square miles within Hall County, it will take staff and volunteers five-plus days to deliver the packages to homes," she said. "Once all shelf stables have been distributed, we will suspend Meals on Wheels service until April 3."
Moss added the CSC itself has begun to feel the impact of some volunteers temporarily removing themselves from service as they’re part of the high-risk population themselves.
"We salute these volunteers for being responsible for their well-being and notifying staff as soon as possible regarding their availability," she said. "The last thing we want is for our volunteers to fall ill, so I see the act of temporary self-removal as a selfless one. We will reconnect with these volunteers once we have a better handle on COVID-19."
At this time, Gainesville Connection and Dial-A-Ride transit services will continue to run their normal route(s).
The city will continue to communicate all cancellations, closures and possible service interruptions at gainesville.org and on the "Gainesville Georgia Government" Facebook page.
The latest information regarding Hall County Government will also be available on the county’s social media accounts and at hallcounty.org. Specifically, a number of proactive steps Hall County has taken to date in regards to the coronavirus epidemic, along with a number of other helpful resources on this issue, can be found at ready.hallcounty.org.
To remain current on coronavirus-related news and learn how to prevent the virus from spreading, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention online at cdc.gov or find the organization on Facebook.