Life Slowly Gets Back to Normal for Local Seniors


Last updated 7/8/2021 at 8:33pm | View PDF

Zumba in Hanford's Civic Park helps some to celebrate the end of the pandemic.

It seems that things are changing and that life is getting back to normal following the lifting of the state mask mandate last month. There is one constant in recent months, however – there continue to be mixed messages about how much has actually gotten back to normal.

Local senior centers are waiting for city and county officials to give them a green light before they open their doors.

"We are awaiting new guidance from public health officials in order to determine when we will be able to offer in-person programming at the (Visalia) Senior Center," said Laurissa Roggenkamp, recreation manager for the City of Visalia Community Services Department.

She also informed us that, "The status for Senior Games 2021 is yet to be determined."

"We're trying to get back to normal," said Armando da Silva, recreation supervisor for the City of Hanford. "We're in the process of hiring staff and once they are hired on, we will hopefully open up completely."

It should be noted, however, that the city's parks and community services department continues to host aerobics classes in Longfield Center and zumba classes in Civic Park.

No announcement was forthcoming from the City of Tulare.

"We are playing it week by week," said Karie Rodriguez of City of Tulare Community Services

There was good news from Valley Strong Ballpark last month as the Visalia Rawhide was able to open the park to full capacity. Many of the special game events will continue, but unfortunately, not all of them.

"We will not be having a Belle of the Ballpark this year because of not being able to have player involvement," said Jillian Gearin, the team's director of broadcasting and media relations manager, about the senior pageant. She explained that players still need to maintain social distance rules.

The message on the Visalia Fox Theatre marquee during the early days of the pandemic is finally about to come true.

After the pandemic forced last year's Walk to End Alzheimer's from Mooney Grove Park in Visalia to neighborhood walks throughout the South Valley, the event looks to return to its traditional location this year.

"We're moving forward with plans to host Walk to End Alzheimer's in person this fall," said Amanda Valenzuela, development manager of the Alzheimer's Association's California Southland Chapter. "The health and safety of our participants, staff and volunteers remain our top priorities as we make decisions about event details, and we'll continue to offer options to participate online and in your neighborhood."

And entertainment venues also expect to open their doors soon.

"We'll start having shows again in the fall," said Kent Stahl, production & operations manager of the Visalia Fox Theatre.

With any luck, this will be the last of our "pandemic updates." Congratulations to all of you for making it through the last 16 months!


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