COLUMBIA, Md. (WJZ) — After more than 400 days, Howard County will once again welcome guests into their age 50 and up centers.

The centers, which will officially reopen in April 30, have been closed since March of 2020. Last week Govern Larry Hogan signed an executive order allowing them to once again reopen.

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“In-person is very important,” said member Brenda Colwell, “Virtual is fantastic but nothing beats actually talking to somebody.”

Howard County Executive Dr. Calvin Ball says with 99% of County residents age 75 and older having received at least one dose of the vaccine, he feels comfortable moving forward with the reopening process

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“We have one of the most efficient jurisdictions in the state at getting out vaccinations,” said Dr. Ball, “And now have a positivity rate that’s below 5%. I think now’s the time to start reopening.”

When the centers reopen on Friday they will do so with limited programming, at 50% capacity and with reservations being required.

They will continue offering virtual services for those not comfortable returning to the centers in person.

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Anne Arundel County has also announced they will reopen three of their senior activity centers on Monday, May 3rd. Harford County will begin to reopen its centers on May 3 as well. Activities will be limited and on appointment-only basis on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Sean Streicher