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To-go meals will be only option for next two weeks 

The Chetco Activity Center will not be serving a sit-down lunch to visitors for the next two weeks in the wake of Gov. Kate Brown’s coronavirus recommendations. 

A to-go lunch will be available to people at the center located at 550 Chetco Lane in downtown Brookings, stated Chetco Activity Center board member Glenda Groff in an email to The Pilot shortly before 1 p.m. 

“All other activities (at the center) will continue as usual,” Groff wrote, including the Meals on Wheels program. 

The announcement was made midday Friday, March 13, proving that when it comes to the coronavirus change happens quickly. A couple of hours earlier that day, it was business as usual for the center. 

Mid-Friday morning, some of the center’s regulars sat in the dining room drinking coffee and talking. Of course, they were all sitting a little farther apart than usual. 

Bottles of hand sanitizer could be seen everywhere and notices about how to properly wash your hands were posted on doors, walls and windows as the state and nation attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus. 

“We are going to stay open,” said Groff at the time. “We are going to follow the guidelines.” 

Effective immediately, all large gatherings in the state of Oregon over 250 people will be canceled for four weeks until April 8, Brown said during a Thursday, March 12, news conference. For the elderly and people in at-risk groups, she recommended they stay out of groups of 10 or more. 

Easier said than done for people that rely on services available through establishments like the Chetco Activity Center. 

“Like I said a lot of the people, this gentleman over here for instance probably isn’t going to cook for himself, he probably doesn’t even shop,” Groff said. “A lot of our regulars depend on the center.” 

Groff happily pointed out they were using the social distancing recommendations — at least 3 feet of space between you and another person — announced by Gov. Brown on Thursday. They’d also shut down their salad bar and were preparing to serve individual salads each with their own dressing container. 

A sit-down lunch Monday through Friday is what brings people, mostly seniors, to the Chetco Activity Center. Most of the tables can seat up to six people but can easily be rearranged to keep people about 3 feet apart, Groff said. 

Groff knew that closing the dining room for lunch was a strong possibility and they’d talked about what they would do if it became a reality. 

“I just hope it’s only for two weeks and not four,” said Groff optimistically. 

The center also hosts and organizes many activities such as card games and Bingo and the plan at least for now is to continue providing those social activities. 

“We want to continue to help people but not put them at risk and we are trying to walk that fine line,” Groff said. “We are trying to be really open with what is our responsibility and what is the individual’s responsibility.”  

People who are not feeling well are being advised to seek medical attention or stay home. 

The center received calls from people asking if the activities were going to continue, specifically the card games. Groff said the games can draw close to 10 people. 

“I had two this morning (Friday) from concerned card players that we might close the card room and that’s their life,” Groff said. “So I’m saying to the people that want to close the games choose not to come, you are an adult, choose not to come.” 

For more information on the Chetco Activity Center, visit online www.chetcoac.org. 

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