TINLEY PARK, Ill. (CBS) — The state of Illinois is slowly starting to open back up, and that means fewer restrictions even for the most vulnerable people.
Senior living centers are allowing more activities for their residents, and even allowing new people to move in with restrictions.
CBS 2’s Tim McNicholas on Monday showed us how one facility is balancing social activities and safety.
Group exercise is a rare sight nowadays, but not as much so as a couple of months ago. A socially-distanced and masked workout was held recently at Tinley Court, a senior hoe in the south suburbs.
“I think it’s very nice,” said resident Felix Lazaroff.
Residents just started their workouts again – a welcome change after spending months rarely leaving their rooms or seeing their neighbors.
“But we have to do it cautiously. We can’t do it in a hurry,” Lazaroff said. “I noticed that we sat far apart and that was nice.”
Lazaroff and other residents may also now see a couple of family members at a time if they’d like to visit them just outside the building. But inside is still off-limits for visitors.
“When this first started, we kind of just went in full lockdown mode,” said Tinley Court administrator Jennifer Bidochka.
Bidochka said the residents had to eat alone in their rooms, but now, group meals are back – and those are socially-distanced as well.
“I always want to be about three steps behind everybody,” Bidochka said. “What everybody else is doing, I’m going to see what happens.”
And Tinley Court is also ready to start accepting new residents again. The staff says anyone who moves in should first get tested for COVID-19.
As COVID-19 devastated senior homes across the country, Tinley Court managed to keep their case count to zero. There are about 60 residents there.
But there are concerns about a case popping up as the residents get into exercising – and precautions are being taken to try to prevent that.
“They say being outdoors is a little better so I try to keep it outdoors, they all have their masks on, socially six feet apart,” Bidochka said.
“We took precautions right in the beginning,” Lazaroff said. “We took all the necessary conditions for spreading.”
Along with the exercise, bingo has made a triumphant return at Tinley Court – with the chips and cards being disinfected after each round.