By Andrea Grymes

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – New York City senior centers have gotten the green light to reopen. The mayor says they can resume outdoor programs immediately, and indoor programs later this month, but with restrictions.

As CBS2’s Andrea Grymes explains, Davia Prego could not contain her excitement when she learned a senior center in Inwood can finally reopen.

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“That’s marvelous,” Prego said. ” We have been waiting for this moment for a long time.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio says some 250 city senior centers can resume outdoor programs immediately, and indoor programs on June 14th.

The announcement comes after rallies like one last month begging the city to reopen the centers, lifelines for the elderly, that have been closed for more than a year.


“We know our seniors have deeply missed the opportunity to be together. We also know seniors bore the brunt of the COVID crisis,” de Blasio said.

The administration says the centers cannot discriminate, so they’ll be open to both vaccinated and unvaccinated people. Masks, social distancing and daily health screens will be required for everyone.

“We need to protect each other,” Prego said.

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But not everyone is on board with the new rules.

Watch: Mayor Bill de Blasio Discusses Reopening Senior Centers

“The simple facts are that if you’ve been vaccinated, you’re safe,” said Daniel Lipsman.

Lipsman believes only vaccinated seniors should be allowed, with no masks or distancing requirements. He sued last week to get the centers reopened and plans to continue with the lawsuit, so they can socialize normally.

“The people we’re talking about here are close to the end of their lives. And they will be suffering, every day. It’s been 15, 16 months they’ve been suffering,” Lipsman said.

“We want to get it right. we want to work out of an abundance of caution,” de Blasio said.

The city health commissioner says 72% of seniors in the five boroughs have at least one dose of the COVID vaccine, and they hope to drive that number even higher.

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The CDC says vaccinated people can resume normal activities without masks or social distancing, except where required by law or regulations. w or regulations.

Andrea Grymes