Looking ahead to trips, excursions, fun

Press file photo

Local seniors like Patrick and Elova McCoy (seen here at the grand opening of the Oakley Senior Center in 2019,) are finding fun ways to relax, unwind and enjoy life during the COVID-19 crisis.

September in East County means warm days, cool evenings, and plenty of opportunity to step outside for some fresh air.

Despite concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, health officials have offered socially distant outdoor recreation as a means to stay healthy and happy during these uncertain times. With miles of walking trails and sidewalks available in East County, seniors looking for light, low impact exercise will be spoiled for choice.

If urban walks have become mundane, options abound in East Bay Regional Parks, which have begun to open back up after recent wildfires. Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley has a smooth walk on flat land to expansive Delta Views.

The Brentwood Senior Activity Center is temporarily closed to activities. Recreation supervisor for the City of Brentwood Olivia Alvarez said she and her team are working on getting safe and fun outdoor programing scheduled for the fall.

“Everyone is just really trying to figure out what fall can look like for all of us,” Alvarez said. “Not only for seniors, but the overall fall recreation schedule. We are trying to see how we can alter our events to make them still happen.”

To offer input on future activities, seniors can take Brentwood’s Covid-19 Senior Services Survey online. Alvarez said the survey is asking the senior community what they want and what they feel comfortable doing.

“We will alter our programming to meet the needs we hear from the results of the survey,” she added.

For those looking to get out of town, cruises have begun booking for the new year. Prices are relatively steady and potential cruisers should not expect big discounts, but there are plenty of promotions right now.

“What the cruise lines are doing is offering incentives to book at the moment,” said Vera Martinez, owner of Vacations and Voyages Travel Agency. “That might mean $500 onboard credit, drinks packages and specialty dining.”

Martinez said some of her clients are booking river cruises because they are smaller, usually topping out at 100 people per boat, compared to thousands on large ocean cruises. She is currently booking cruises to multiple locations, including Alaska and Hawaii for 2021.

Cruises aren’t the only way to get a change of scenery. Martinez said she is seeing people travel. Airlines are doing what they can to make passengers feel safe, and most still have the middle seat blocked off. But travelers should expect to comply with all safety measures.

“I think that travel is possible,” said Martinez. “I think that we need to be smart about the way we travel, I think we need to be sure we follow the guidelines imposed. If the airlines are asking for a mask, you need to wear a mask . . . don’t think you can get away without a mask.”

For more information on East Bay Regional Parks, call 1-888-327-2757 or visit https://bit.ly/3gPgoir.

For more information on Vacations and Voyages, call 925-639-9194 or visit www.vacationsandvoyages.net.

The City of Brentwood has developed a COVID-19 Senior Resource Guide with resources and services that are available to assist adults ages 50+. If you are interested in obtaining a printed copy of this guide, call the City of Brentwood Parks and Recreation Department at 925-516-5444 and leave a voicemail with your name and mailing address.  Printed copies will also be available at the Brentwood Family Aquatic Complex on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month, from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.

The Senior Resource guide is available online at https://bit.ly/2YUQTWx.