‘It’s been tough’: After 18 months, popular Wasaga seniors’ club ready to reopen

For Maria Thompson and Sharon Matthews the reopening of the Prime Time Club has been a long time coming.

“Several groups want to start up as soon as possible,” said Thompson, the club’s president.

“Anybody that I personally have talked to are (asking), ‘when is the club going to open?’,” Matthews added. “ A lot of our members are people who are on their own (and) they need that social gathering.”

The club, which serves more than 700 seniors — those over the age of 50 — with a variety of activities, including fitness classes, billiards, darts, shuffleboard, and more, has been shuttered since mid-March of 2020.

The club at 1724 Mosley St. is closing in on 35 years of operation.

On Sept. 7, after 18 long months, the club housed at the front of the Wasaga Beach RecPlex will be ready to open its doors again — carefully.

It’s been provided a monthly newsletter for its members, but it’s not the same as meeting face-to-face, Thompson said.

While one must be older than 50 to be a member, the majority are in their 80s, said Thompson. Some are even into their 90s.

The annual cost to be a member is $20. To take part in an activity, members pay an additional toonie per event.

The executive has worked through the guidelines set by the town and the health unit, and developed a set of protocols for groups to use the facility.

It will mean wearing masks, and gloves if so desired, and a strict regimen of sanitizing high touch surfaces such as tables, chairs and doorknobs.

Group conveners will be responsible for cleaning the facility once their activity is done.

Being double vaccinated will also be a must, Thompson said.

“The conveners were quite adamant about that,” she said.

Some programs won’t be starting up immediately. That includes some fitness programs, as the club is looking for an appropriate instructor.

Anyone interested in the position can contact the club.

Some members, said Thompson, would visit several times a week.

On Saturdays, the club would hold a social drop-in when members could play cards, darts, and have a drink and some snacks.

“It’s just somewhere for them to go, and a lot of those single people that do come out, they come out and enjoy a little drink,” Matthews said. “You can tell when you’re here that this is very important to those people.”

The club will likely start the Saturday socials right away, but without the snacks and drinks due to pandemic restrictions.

And while the executive has continued to meet, virtually, it’s also been difficult not being able to take part in social activities face-to-face, Thompson said.

“It’s been tough, it’s been tough not having the activities going on and just wondering about everybody, and when it’s going to end,” she said. “I see a lot of them (have been able to) keep in touch, but it’s been tough.”

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Story behind the story: As more activities and organizations begin to open up in the pandemic, Simcoe.com wanted to connect with the executive at Wasaga Beach’s Prime Time Club about the impact of reopening, and what it means to its members.