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GRF to close indoor facilities through Jan. 31

ANNOUNCEMENT FROM THE GRF (Friday, Jan. 7, 2022):

The omicron variant of COVID-19 has caused infections in the county, state and nation to more than double the peaks of last summer and last year.  Since mid-December 2021, the daily infection rates have spiked and have continued to climb every day since December 14.  As of January 7, the county 7-day average infection rate was more than double the previous record high set a year ago.  Of particular concern is that omicron is also infecting people who have been vaccinated and boosted, although with less severity than those who have been vaccinated.

Following CEO Tim O’Keefe’s discussions with the Contra Costa Health Services Public Health Director this week regarding whether the Golden Rain Foundation should institute additional safety protocols, the GRF Board of Directors met in an emergency Executive Session on Friday afternoon, January 7, 2022, to discuss steps that GRF can take immediately to keep the Rossmoor community safe.

Contra Costa Health Services advised that Rossmoor should cancel all indoor activities given the age demographics of the Rossmoor community and the risk posed by COVID-19, even to vaccinated and boosted individuals.  Following extensive deliberation for nearly 2 hours, the GRF Board agreed to close all facilities to indoor resident activities effective 12:01 AM on Monday, January 10, 2022.  This includes GRF-sponsored events, as well as personal events and club activities in GRF facilities.  Outdoor activities are permitted without any additional restrictions although the County’s Public Health Director encourages the use of N95 masks, rather than cloth or paper masks.

The facilities closed to residents include Gateway Clubhouse and Studios, Event Center, Tice Creek Fitness Center and pools, Hillside, Table Tennis, MOD facility, and inside the Golf Pro Shop.  The Lawn Bowling Mat House will be closed for meetings and events but will remain open to access the equipment for outdoor play.  The Golf Pro Shop will remain open with check-in at the door.  No visitors will be allowed inside.

Gateway Studios members who need access to their possessions in the Studios after January 9th, should contact a member of the Recreation Department to assist.

Although the outdoor pools at Hillside and Dollar were closed in November, the Dollar Pool will tentatively re-open on Monday, January 17, while the Fitness Center pools are closed.  Pool reservations will not be required but access will be limited if capacity is reached. Hillside Pool cannot re-open at this time due to a scheduled renovation.

Absent a public health order, the Creekside Grill will remain open. However, vaccination proof will still be required as well as masking, except while actively eating or drinking.

Mutual Operations (MOD) and the Order Desk will continue to respond to resident and mutual maintenance requests although the facility is closed to residents.  Residents are advised to sanitize surfaces before and after visits from MOD or independent contractors and to remain masked and socially distanced during the length of the service visit.

The Recreation Department at Gateway will continue to be available by phone or email for services including room reservations for later in the year.  Counselors in the Gateway Counseling Office will be available by phone or Zoom only.

Buses will continue to operate with social distancing protocols in place.

The Rossmoor News and Channel 28 will continue to produce content for the newspaper and TV, although the facility will remain closed to residents.

The Public Safety Office also will be closed, but residents who need assistance can call 1-925-988-7841.

The Board agreed to continue to provide full pay for any staff member idled by this directive through the end of January.  Due to the scarcity of PCR tests, the Board also agreed to accept weekly antigen tests for any unvaccinated staff member.  The Board noted that the staff vaccination rate is 91% compared to residents in the 94595 Zip code of 88%.

The closure will continue through at least January 31, 2022.  The Board will meet on January 27 to re-assess and determine whether the closure should be extended.

Following the Board of Directors’ decision, GRF Board President Dwight Walker stated, “The Board did not make this decision lightly. We recognize the hardship that another round of closures has on everyone in Rossmoor.  Everyone is tired of the pandemic.  But it is important that we not let our guard down as infections are spiking exponentially.

“The Board’s goal is to lower the risk of infection to Rossmoor residents. Even though the vast majority of residents are vaccinated and boosted, and may only experience mild symptoms, the Board believes this short-term action is necessary. Hopefully, we will get through this spike and things will calm down soon.  The Board is grateful for everyone’s patience and understanding.”