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Auburn Senior Center re-opens after pandemic

It’s been over a year since the center opened its doors to elderly seniors.
Updated: May. 14, 2021 at 9:23 AM EDT
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AUBURN, Ala. (WTVM) - As many more public places are starting to open up again in Alabama, the senior population is starting to see life get back to normal.

The Auburn Senior Center is re-opening its doors as more of the elderly community gets vaccinated against COVID-19. It’s the first time these residents have been back together in fourteen months.

It’s a home away from home as many call it - and 92-year old Wyolene Welch says she’s glad her Auburn Senior Center is finally re-open.

“My time has been good because I get along well with everybody and just love people as a whole,” said Welch.

The Auburn Senior Center is a place for those 60 and older to fellowship together and participate in numerous activities, like bingo and trivia - and they were forced to close their doors when COVID-19 hit.

“You miss it very much. Not coming and being able to not only come over here but not doing a whole lot of things. COVID was devastating,” said Ovell Grimmett, Auburn Senior Center attendee.

Now, over a year later - the senior center is opening its doors back to people they call “family”.

“We want to be able not only to social distance, but we want to make people really talk to people, like we used to, how we can gather ourselves back together again without being afraid,” said Auburn Senior Center director Johnnie Dowdell.

Dowdell said most of her seniors are vaccinated, but the center still encourages everyone to wear their mask.

Although only 25 people can come per day due to the pandemic, Dowdell said she’s just happy to see the seniors in person again.

“I’m grateful to God that he’s allowed all of us to come back together again. He’s allowed this, and like I said, it could’ve been the other way around,” said Dowdell.

And these seniors said they feel the same.

“It was joy to be able to come back, cause a lot weren’t able to do that. And it’s a blessing,” said Grimmett.

“It was nice to see everyone again. And i appreciate that,” said Welch.

Dowdell says she hopes to have the center go back to full capacity soon. The center is currently only open Wednesday-Friday.

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