Despite a push from Greenburgh seniors to restart indoor activities, Town Board members are asking for patience as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact Westchester County.
During an Apr. 6 work session, Town Supervisor Paul Feiner said he’s been receiving calls from vaccinated senior citizens requesting Greenburgh find a way to resume indoor activities at the Theodore Young Community Center. Feiner said he understands the risk but also guidelines allowing those fully vaccinated to gather safely for limited programs.
Feiner said he issued a letter to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, seeking guidance on how to properly handle the situation. But board members believe it’s worth waiting a bit longer before making any decisions.
“At some point we have to let the virus at least get an idea that we’re not stupid because we constantly give this virus a chance to thrive and now with the vaccines and it looks like there’s a national effort to make sure this thing goes away,” Councilman Francis Sheehan said. “I believe we have to be a little bit more patient.”
He added it’s not worth giving the coronavirus another opportunity to thrive.
Councilwoman Gina Jackson said that while she understands the population has “COVID fever” and the senior programs provided by the town are an outlet for many, that it’s imperative the town take the safest approach to reopening indoor activities to members of the community. She said it wouldn’t be sound for the town offer indoor programming when there’s no guarantee the virus won’t spread.
“I understand that this is their only outlet, but we have to be very cautious and very mindful for everyone’s safety and we have to make sure we have the proper protocols and the proper planning done to have everyone come back,” Jackson said. “It’s very important that we do this right because we’ve seen the consequences of this pandemic and it’s not nice.”
While the town is accommodating indoor activities for youth at a limited capacity, senior activities will resume this Friday but for outdoor use only where social distancing can be adhered to. The community center will open its patio for certain senior classes on Apr. 19, officials said.
Officials noted that a plan will be implemented once there’s a level of comfort in place, with an unease to place an already at-risk population in further jeopardy. Feiner added that people have spent the last year being incredibly careful, but the vaccine has provided a false sense of security.
“There’s validity to being extra careful for a few extra weeks,” Feiner said. “When Washington tells us that it’s safe, we can have more programs.”