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NORTH TONAWANDA — The city's youth and senior centers will not be reopening as soon as originally hoped. 

During a workshop meeting of the North Tonawanda Common Council last week, Alex Domaradzki, the city's director of the department of youth, recreation and parks, said the reopening plan for both centers involves following all health and safety guidelines from New York state. All visitors will be required to wear facial coverings as and submit to temperature check done before being allowed into either center. Domaradzki said occupancy will also need to be kept below 50%.

State guidelines require all indoors sports and recreational activities to be limited to no more than 50% of the maximum capacity of the venue in question. Domaradzki noted that the city's youth center which has two levels, can accommodate a total of 250 people on the upper level and 384 on the lower level. 

"We’ve gone above and beyond that," Domaradzki said. "We’ll only have 25 students on any level at any time, so a total of 50 people in the building as far as participants are concerned.”

The senior center, which has a maximum occupancy of 250, will only have 15 to 20 people in the building at a time so visitors can remain properly spread out.

Open programming would become registration based and have a staggered time schedule as well. Gaps would be left in that schedule to allow staff at the youth center to sanitize the building thoroughly. There are planned offering to have academic assistance, guided physical education, drama club, sports clinics, STEM classes and foreign language programs. The activities will be staggered throughout the course of a week, with all programs involving pre-registration and a waiver signed by a parent or guardian.

Programs, such as yoga, legal assistance and healthcare consultation, will also be staggered as well. 

Domaradzki said having smaller amounts of people are being allowed into the centers as part of what's essentially a soft reopening, adding that he wanted to be conservative with the numbers.

Officials have not set an opening date for the centers.

“Since this plan of his had to do with some actions with the schools, also, I wanted to wait to see what the opening of the schools was going to look like and what the schools were going to be doing with the youth and so on before we open the youth center,” Mayor Art Pappas said.

Domaradzki said the big challenge in working on this was figuring out how to do this safely with the online guidance from the state level since they do not fall into the category of a gym or fitness center.

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