Fall 2020 COVID-19 Update

This summer, we have been delighted to begin welcoming members back to Gordon House — albeit in small, masked-up, outdoor gatherings. We’ve missed you! And while you’ve been busy catching up in the plaza, our Management Team (Jessy, Linda, Isabel, Jim and Siobhan) has been working hard behind the scenes to plan for the fall.

We’ve developed plans for a variety of public health scenarios, and want to reassure you that we will provide continuous programming through the rainy season – no matter what happens with COVID-19. It just may look a little different than we are used to. For example, we are preparing to quickly shift programs online in the event of uncontrolled community transmission.

At present, we are working to open up select programming indoors, and we wanted to provide a little snapshot of what this will look like. Here is some of what you can expect this fall:

  1. Childcare will open indoors on September 10th. We are adding additional staff, limiting numbers of children and following a robust safety plan to ensure the safe operation of the program.
  2. Seniors Programming will be the next to move indoors, with a goal to be in operation by November 1st, 2020. A thorough and rigorous safety plan is being developed in consultation with health authorities. This plan will be available to seniors in advance of our opening date. At the recommendation of our health authorities, we are not planning to resume in-person dining this fall. Some programming (e.g. zoom gatherings, phone check-ins, etc.) will remain online or outdoors for those uncomfortable attending indoors.
  3. Family Place will be the next to move indoors. A start date has not yet been determined. Some online Family Place programming (e.g. Facebook Live) will be maintained for those uncomfortable gathering in person.
  4. Counselling, language classes, outdoor education (e.g. farming, nature walks) and food programming will remain as-is over the winter – outdoors, online or by delivery.
  5. The Attic Thrift Store will only re-open once there is a significant containment of COVID-19. In the interim, we will be using the room for programming. Contrary to any rumors you may have heard in community, we are not closing the Attic Thrift Store permanently. (Not only is it important to the community, it is a major source of revenue for Gordon – we will need it!).

You can stay up to date on the latest programs by visiting our Facebook page, picking up a Gordon House Seniors Brochure at West End Seniors’ Network’s Kay’s Place in the Denman Mall, or emailing welcome@gordonhouse.org.

This era of social distancing is really the opposite of everything Gordon House is about. We’re experts at cramming as many singing, dancing and laughing people as possible into a space — remember the time we had 100 people around one table at our GBQ?

But at the end of the day, safety has to come first. Our members deserve a safe environment and we are sparing no expense to ensure our programs have the most robust, evidence-based protocols in place. We are grateful to the community’s understanding and patience as we’ve worked out what our work needs to look like under COVID-19.

Make no mistake – we miss seeing you in person, and can’t wait to open our doors again. If you want to reach out, don’t hesitate to email welcome@gordonhouse.org.

In the words of Dr. Bonnie Henry, be calm, be kind, and be safe!