- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
Since January, staffers with Hampton’s libraries, community centers and other city facilities have been moonlighting as city COVID-19 vaccinators.
It’s one reason why these facilities haven’t reopened since late February, when the state lifted its more stringent social distancing guidelines.
“We have been able to vaccinate approximately 35% of our Hampton residents through our vaccination efforts. We would not have been able to do that, frankly, if we didn’t have the staff to support those planning operations,” City Manager Mary Bunting said during a Hampton City Council meeting Wednesday. “The state has announced that they will be opening a clinic that will be fully run by five vendors at the end of this month, which allows us to start to reposition opening some of these facilities.”
As of Monday, all city libraries are open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays 1 to 5 p.m. but are operating with the similar policy and social distancing guidelines it had in place during Phase 3 reopening last July, Hampton library director Valerie Gardner said in an email. Patrons again are limited to one hour of visitation time to enforce social distancing and turnover. Library staff will do temperature checks for all patrons coming in and face masks are required for everyone 5 and older. The libraries will continue to offer curbside pick-up and concierge services.
“We know that some residents are still uncomfortable going into buildings. We still have many residents who have not yet vaccinated,” Bunting said.
As social gathering restrictions ease up, libraries and smaller scale events are a go, but community centers and large festivals are still on hold for a while longer, but for different reasons, officials said. The city’s senior center on Kecoughtan Road and four community centers — North Phoebus, North Hampton, Westhampton and Fort Monroe community centers — are expected to open May 3.
With vaccine efforts still going on at the community centers, when they do reopen, those centers will launch “wellness hubs.” It’s a nationwide program created by the National Parks and Recreation Association, a nonprofit based in Ashburn, to foster parks and recreation activities as a catalyst for positive change, according to its website.
“The community centers will have a slightly different operation and they will have COVID protocols, as well,” Bunting said. “Wellness activities will include access to the fitness equipment by appointment, plus physically distanced classes like yoga, aerobics, stretching, strengthen and line dancing.”
The same will offer after school fitness from 2 to 6 p.m., “for kids who have been missing structured activities because of the pandemic,” Bunting said, adding, “we hope to expand the summer hours in June and offer modify summer camps to assist working parents.”
Neighborhood centers, such as Y.H. Thomas, Fox Hill and Little England Center, and their local boards will decide when they will open.
Regarding smaller and larger scale events and city-wide festival that cannot be contained indoors, outdoor permit applications for those events that fall in line with the state’s guidelines — no more than 100 attendees — will be accepted.
“We are not going to planning the large-scale festival like Blackbeard festivals,” Bunting added. “They just don’t appear to be in accordance with the governor’s guidelines.”
Additional information about Hampton’s recreational activities reopening — pools, parks, fishing piers, outdoor courts — or other items, is available by calling the city’s 3-1-1 Citizen Contact Center at 757-726-8311.
Lisa Vernon Sparks, 757-247-4832, email@example.com