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Senior centers in King County begin to slowly reopen

Some centers, like the Auburn Senior Activity Center, closed their doors even before the state shut down due to the pandemic.

AUBURN, Wash. — Senior centers around King County are starting to fully reopen after a long period of isolation for many of the residents.

The Auburn Senior Activity Center closed its doors in early March 2020, right before Washington state shut down in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since seniors are especially at risk of complications from COVID-19, many were homebound, like Edna Pelletier.

"I feel like I was snowed in, and now it's over," explained Pelletier, a volunteer at the Auburn Senior Activity Center. "I’m getting back into the swing of things."

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The facility in Auburn fully reopened on Tuesday. Friends who have not seen each other in person for more than a year and a half greeted one another with a smile or game of pool.

Butch Maples likes to hang out with the guys in the pool room, but on Tuesday, he spent his time putting together meals at the center.

"Coming down here relaxes you really, and you do meet a lot of fine people," said Maples, while stuffing roast beef sandwiches into brown paper bags. "Everybody needs that comfort, you know, and people to talk to, and this is the place that you can do it."

"The seniors that live alone can go ahead and do things with friends from here, and we haven’t been able to do that," said volunteer Sharon Schooley.

The Auburn Senior Activity Center had a soft reopening with limited programs starting in March, but many seniors said nothing compares to fully reopening.