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Save Our Seniors

'Save Our Seniors' -- peaceful protest Saturday at City Hall against continued lockdown of seniors

By Billie Owens

Friends and family members concerned about lack of visitation with the old folks they love will hold a protest in front of Batavia City Hall on Saturday.

It will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at One City Centre in Downtown Batavia.

"We want to see our loved ones," said Oakfield resident and organizer Beverly Noody. "It's not about their living conditions or problems with the local facilities, it's about not being able to visit them."

Although the Finger Lakes Region is in Phase Four of reopening under New York On PAUSE, a regionalized plan to flatten the COVID-19 infection rate, organizers are pushing back on what they say are officials' continued insistence to keep seniors under lockdown.

They disagree with the continuation of the mandate put forth by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the state Department of Health, and the nation's Centers for Disease Control.

"It's been six months with no end in sight," Noody said.

For example, if they test everyone at a facility on Monday, and an employee receives a positive result, including the possibility of a false positive, they quarantine everyone for 28 days, well beyond the 14-day period it's believed infected people might be able to spread the disease. 

"We have small facilities here -- can you imagine at places three times as big, what that means?" Noody asked. "They'll never be able to have visitors. It's an impossible standard."

The lack of visitation, along with not offering group activities, outside activities, music programs, church services, etc., has taken a toll on the residents and their families, according to organizers.

"It's depressing," Noody said. "Can you imagine that same thing every day? They are encouraged to stay in their room. All they have is TV."

Staff will trim men's hair, but not the ladies'. She's not sure about whether they trim their nails, something family members often took care of.

Seeking change and greater awareness of the situation, those rallying to "Save Our Seniors" will be distributing flyers and "letting people know that these residents need to have their rights back," says Dana Kelley, one of the organizers.

People who share this view are encouraged to speak up, show up and tell others, Kelley added.

Questions? Call Beverly Noody at (585) 356-7581.

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