OC senior facility reopens dining halls for residents following CDC's new guidelines for fully vaccinated Americans

The dining rooms are finally open at the Emerald Court Senior Living Facility in Anaheim. The pandemic confined the residents to eat in their rooms, away from their friends and neighbors.

Following the recently released CDC guidelines for fully vaccinated Americans, some restrictions at the facility have been lifted. Now, the residents can once again enjoy meals with others, safely.

"They were asking about sitting with someone, they feel like they were being captive. But now seating at 50%, they can sit with somebody else, they can see their neighbors and friends, so it's a good experience. It's really good," said Richard Calle, who works at the dining hall at Emerald Court.

With 90% of the residents vaccinated, Orange County allows facilities like Emerald Court to open up dining rooms and allow outdoor activities with some restrictions.

Being able to sit across from someone and enjoy their company over a meal will do wonders for their well being.

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California's public health department says fully vaccinated residents of nursing homes can now receive both indoor and in-room guests.

"It's very good for their mental health. The socializing with the other residents and the staff is all helping them with their wellness. They're all in a better mood too, so that's always a good thing," said Jackie Razo, an Emerald Court employee.

The bottom line is this: With residents at senior living facilities being among the first to get vaccinated, it's allowing them to start leading a life similar to what they had before the pandemic.
This is a close knit community where many see each other more like family. So these little reunions are a welcome sight.

"Super stoked about having everybody back. It's always good to have family back. We treat everybody here like family, so it's always good to have them back you know," Calle said.

"All of the residents are enjoying the dining, plus all of the activities so they're all benefiting from it," Razo said.

Though there are still restrictions, the facility's residents can now see each other on a regular basis like they used to.

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States are working to ramp up their vaccination efforts, hoping to get more shots into more arms faster.

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