The Red Deer Senior Citizens Downtown House was closed for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But earlier this month, the facility on 43rd Street, which features activities for seniors, began welcoming guests once again with safety precautions in place.
The cold weather, coupled with a lack of activities in the city, would cause mental struggles for seniors, said Clarice Schulz, Red Deer Senior Citizens Downtown House vice-president.
“Things were fine in the summer because you can go outside, you can walk. But now you’re stuck with winter and I think that is going to take a toll on a lot of seniors,” Schulz said Wednesday afternoon.
The Downtown House closed on March 16, in the early stages of the pandemic.
It was “a lot of work” to get the facility up and running, said Schulz.
“We’re just trying to pick up where we left off, but it’s not easy.
“When we closed, we had gallons of soup ready for a crib tournament and a whist tournament. We phoned The Mustard Seed and we gave them all of our prepared soups, the ground beef and everything we had in the back freezer. They were happy to get it.
“When we knew we were opening again, three of us came down and sanitized everything, rewashed all the dishes. … It was a big expense to refurbish the things that we need.”
There are a number of rules in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19: masks are mandatory, any table that is used is sanitized, visitors are asked to wash or sanitize hands and only one person handles the coffee pots.
The Downtown House is exploring the possibility of hosting a supper in November, but nothing has been confirmed yet.
Forty-five people would be able to join in the supper if it does happen – the building has a 50-person limit due to COVID-19 restrictions. Prior to these restrictions, the suppers hosted at the facility could seat about 90 people.
“But there won’t be any crib or whist tournaments for the foreseeable future,” Schulz added.
The Downtown House is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every weekday, with lunch being served Monday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
For more information on the Senior Citizens Downtown House, call 403-346-4043.