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The Active Life LaGrange to reopen Monday

Troup County’s LaGrange location of The Active Life recreation centers will reopen this Monday, with new safety protocols and shortened hours.

The facility will be open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Each person entering the facility will be required to answer prescreening questions and have their temperature taken. Once inside, everyone will be required to wear face masks, maintain 6 feet of distance, wipe down shared equipment before and after each use and regularly wash and/or sanitize their hands.

The West Point and Hogansville locations are not opening for now because of limited work staff. Dan Wooten, who oversees the facilities, said there isn’t a concrete reopening date for either location, though they expect the West Point center to reopen around mid-August.

The facilities are for independent, older adults aged 55 or older and are managed by the Troup County Parks and Recreation Commission.

Its programs are funded through federal and state grants, the Troup Board of Commissioners, United Way of West Georgia and self-generated funds.

Wooten said that in a survey, about one third of their seniors expressed interest in returning to the centers.

“Since we closed in mid-March they’ve been asking and calling us constantly because The Active Life is such a significant part of their life,” Wooten said.

Wooten said it’s been a learning process keeping up with the science and making sure vulnerable populations are protected.

The center has received assistance from the county and the state to help fund improvements that minimize public touch spaces, including a bathroom remodel that installed contactless faucets and the purchasing of temperature kiosks.

  • Other safety protocols include:
  • Only one, automatic entrance accessible;
  • Anyone with a fever or who fails entry questions will be denied entry;
  • Hand sanitizer stations and disinfecting wipes will be located throughout the facility; 
  • Every other exercise machine will be roped off to enable distancing;
  • Floors will be marked for line dancing; the only dancing class being offered;
  • Some fitness classes will be offered outdoors;
  • Water fountains and microwaves will be shut down;
  • Touchless water filling stations will be available;
  • Travel and trips on buses will be suspended;   
  • Some shared equipment will be prohibited, including pool cue sticks, weights and craft tools;
  • Public touch surfaces will be disinfected daily;
  • Activities will have a capacity limit of 33% occupancy and the number of tables and chairs will be limited to enable distancing;
  • Only take-out meals will be offered;
  • Self-serve coffee and tea will no longer be offered;
  • The kitchen and offices will be closed to the public;
  • Players of Mahjong, dominoes or card games will be required to wear gloves, and larger tables will be used to ensure distance.
  • The beauty shop will be open for seniors seeking haircuts, in accordance with state guidelines, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings.

Since the pandemic started, Active Life continued to send out meals to homebound seniors, Wooten said. That will continue to happen, as meals won’t be served at Active Life’s dining room.

Wooten thinks a safe reopening of the facility is necessary to maintain the physical and mental health of the seniors it serves. Many have been homebound, alone, and lack the tech savvy to participate in Zoom calls and other virtual forms of connection.

“I think it’s a key element of their health, even though they have to follow these protocols,” Wooten said, citing the socialization, nutrition information and fitness programs.

Through those sorts of activities, Active Life seeks to provide better quality of life, increase longevity and sustain independence for seniors.

“We’ve missed them tremendously,” he said. “It has been a very difficult time for them, not to be able to see their friends and get that mental stimulation.”