URBANA — At least one local senior living community will begin easing up a bit on pandemic restrictions next week, now that so many of its staff members and residents have had both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Independent living residents at Clark-Lindsey Village in Urbana are going to get a chance to eat in the dining room and resume family visits again, though with safety measures in place for both.
Nearly all the staff and 99 percent of independent living residents at Clark-Lindsey have now received both doses of COVID-19 vaccine, allowing for at least some return to normal after nearly a year of living under more rigid restrictions due to the pandemic, said Karen Blatzker, Clark-Lindsey’s director of marketing.
The dining room will be open by reservation only, starting Monday, with up to 50 residents dining at any one time to control capacity, she said.
Hours in the dining room will also be extended to give all residents — who have thus far been having meals delivered to them in their apartments — a chance to dine with others if they want, Blatzer said.
Historically, meals are considered social events for residents — times when everyone gets to see other people, Blatzer said.
“I think everybody is so looking forward to this,” she said.
Family visitors can come to see independent living residents starting next Tuesday, Blatzer said.
Reservations will also be required for family visitors, and visits will have to take place in a common area rather than private living quarters.
Masks will also need to be worn and all visitors will be checked in at the door, she said.
Plans for the dining room and family visits apply only to independent living residents, who make up the majority of those at Clark-Lindsey, and not to those in the Meadowbrook Health Center and Green House Homes, Blatzer said.
Dining rooms remain closed for now at another local independent living facility, Windsor of Savoy, and its assisted-living facility, Windsor Court, according to Carle spokeswoman Jamie Mullin.
But efforts have been made to make meals special, she said. The chef has been using some recipes submitted by residents, and there have been festive themed dinners, such as one coming up for Valentine’s day.
Visitors haven’t yet been permitted back inside the Savoy facility, Mullin said.
But since mid-December, under guidance from Illinois Department of Public Health, Windsor of Savoy has begun allowing residents to choose an essential caregiver, such as a family member or friend, to come to the facility under certain restrictions, including routine testing, Mullin said.