In the face of increasing COVID cases, The Center at Belvedere, formerly known as The Senior Center, has gone all-online after seven months of mixed internet and in-person courses, classes and programs.
The decision was announced this week after a few cases were reported among members and non-members.
“We have been successfully offering a combination of on-site and online programs at The Center at Belvedere for seven months. Kind of amazing, all things considered,” Executive Director Peter Thompson said in an email to members.
The Center was closed by Gov. Ralph Northam’s emergency order of March 2020 before it could successfully open in its new facility in the Belvedere subdivision. The new building is about twice the size of its previous location on Hillsdale Drive.
The Center opened in June after Northam eased restrictions in his emergency order. Conditions, however, have changed.
“Due to the increase in COVID-19 infection rates locally, the emergence of highly contagious new variants, and the complexities of vaccine distribution, we have determined that the best way for us to support community health is to temporarily move all of our programs online,” Thompson wrote.
Thompson said the goal is to reopen The Center on March 1, if infection rates and vaccination rates “are trending in the right direction.”
The Center has followed local, state and federal guidelines while open and has remained almost virus free until recently. Although only a few cases were reported by members and others at The Center, Thompson said the decision was made as a way to decrease potential spread in the community.
“It is a disappointing development, but a temporary one. By exercising the greatest caution, we are serving the greater good — and hastening the day that we are able to be together, once again, in person,” Thompson said.