Coronavirus has silenced Judy Brown-Krizman’s music for the time being, at least in the ears of area seniors.
For the last eight years, the Aurora resident through her business Music for the Young at Heart has made a specialty of singing for seniors, including at area senior centers.
"I’ve been canceled for all of March and possibly all of April," she said.
Area senior centers where she has performed have included Aurora, Hudson, Twinsburg, Streetsboro and Solon. She said the bulk of her performances at senior centers were earlier in the year and her canceled performances so far were to have been at senior residential facilities,.
Still, said Brown-Krizman, she’s not complaining about the cancelations.
"I kind of knew it was going to be coming," she said. "Seniors are more impacted by this COVID-19, so I’m really glad that they’re doing it, truthfully. I think locking things down right now for the next two weeks is good, especially for the senior population."
A number of communities in the area are temporarily shutting down their community and/or senior centers in connection with the virus.
Macedonia Mayor Nick Molnar said Thursday that after consulting with Summit County Public Health, the city has shut down its senior center for the time being.
"They recommended that any senior operations [be halted] because the most affected of this virus are folks that are 60 years or older and they’re the most susceptible to catching or having a problem if they catch the coronavirus," said Molnar.
Molnar said that the city is taking it "one day at a time" before deciding when to reopen the senior center.
"We’re monitoring very closely what we’re seeing and hearing and we’re taking the advice of the professionals in the field," he said. "We’re not just reacting to it. When they tell me they feel it’s safe for us to reopen, we will begin to do that."
Other communities have provided restart dates for their centers, but with the understanding they could change. Laura Holman, Aurora’s parks and recreation director, said senior programs are canceled through April 6.
"We have been following orders and guidelines provided by the governor and county, state, and federal health officials and are in close communication with the schools," said Holman.
Holman said the Senior Transportation Program was still providing some local trips to seniors over 65 and disabled adults "on a limited, prescheduled basis."
"We will continue to evaluate the situation and provide updates as needed on our website, www.auroraoh.com," said Holman. "We are acutely aware of our responsibility to do all we can to protect our community as circumstances evolve."
In a news release issued Thursday, Cuyahoga Falls announced it was suspending all recreation classes, seminars and events at the Quirk Cultural Center and all city-sponsored events for 30 days, beginning March 15.
"After those 30 days, the city will re-evaluate the situation with COVID-19 and will then decide how to move forward with future events," says the release.
In a separate press release, also issued on Thursday, the city announced that activities at the city’s Natatorium would be suspended for three weeks, beginning March 15 at 9 p.m.
The releases say, however, that any privately reserved events at the cultural center and Natatorium are not impacted by the suspensions for the time being, but "individuals are encouraged to follow guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Summit County Public Health regarding social distancing and health precautions to determine how to proceed with mass gatherings."
In a press release issued Thursday, Hudson announced that following requests and recommendations from Gov. Mike DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health, "all activities scheduled for Barlow Community Center and the City Hall community rooms are cancelled until further notice."
"We are being proactive to help prevent any potential spread of coronavirus within our community, particularly among our elderly citizens who often use Barlow Community Center and our community rooms," said City Manager Jane Howington.
In Stow, Parks and Recreation Director Linda Nahrstedt said Thursday that the city is suspending programs at its Darrow Road senior center through April 3.
"And we have also suspended our community bus trips which are typically taken by seniors," said Nahrstedt. "So our weekly programs that we have regularly, exercise programs, cards and Bingo and things like that are canceled."
And Nahrstedt said the suspension could extend beyond April 3.
"We will take the lead from Summit County Public Health and CDC as far as extending it so there is always the possibility," she said.
In a March 10 news release, Stow Mayor John Pribonic said he regrets the need for the decision.
"The City’s parks and recreation department prides itself on its vast array of senior citizen programs, all of which are well-attended," said Pribonic. "We are disappointed in having to cancel these programs, however the safety and wellbeing of our senior citizens is of the greatest concern. When it comes to resident safety, we will always err on the side of caution."
Streetsboro announced in a news release the city has shut down its senior center and canceled parks and recreation programs starting Monday and continuing through April 3.
"The City of Streetsboro will continually monitor the most up-to-date information regarding the coronavirus that is being provided by the Centers for Disease Control," states the release. "We will be following all recommendations suggested."
In a news release issued Friday, Twinsburg announced that it had closed its senior center March 12 and would be closing its community and fitness centers beginning Monday, with all three scheduled to remain closed through April 3. However, this is subject to possible change.
"The City of Twinsburg is continually monitoring the Governor’s orders and all information provided by the Centers for Disease Control regarding the Coronavirus," says the release. "The health and wellness of all residents is the top priority of the city’s administration during these unprecedented times."
Brown-Krizman said she knows the virus has generated "a lot of hysteria when it comes to the general population."
"But I think when it comes to our seniors, we do have to be very, very serious about their exposure," she said. "I mean, those are the people that took care of us, helped us with our homework, taught us to ride our bikes and these are the people who now need our care. It’s our turn to give back and we want to make sure we do that."
Reporter Jeff Saunders can be reached at 330-541-9431, firstname.lastname@example.org or @JeffSaunders_RP.