A community center makes its community stronger, and after a year of pandemic The Pride Center at Equality Park is coming back stronger than ever.

They’ve begun the next phase of reopening, including the staggered reintroduction of groups, meetings, and rentals on campus in stages and the limited reopening of the David Bohnett CyberCenter. The focus is on the well-being of all members of the Pride Center. “This was done with a balance of precaution and protection, combined with ongoing analyses of the needs of clients, staff, volunteers, tenants and visitors to access campus.”

Within weeks of the pandemic shutting down the Pride Center most of their services were up and running virtually. While that got the job done, they say there’s nothing like coming together in community. “We have been anxious to move to the next stage of re-opening and welcome back groups. Having face-to-face support is vital for so many in our community, especially for those in recovery, those who are isolated and those needing life-saving community connection.” 

As Pride Center moves through these next stages, some things remain the same. Mask wearing and social distancing are still important, as some visitors and clients haven’t been vaccinated for medical reasons. Meeting rooms will have furniture arranged with social distancing in mind, and attendance limits will be enforced. For now the kitchen remains closed and no outside food and drink is allowed in. Pride Center CEO Robert Boo told SFGN every detail was considered.  “This was done with a balance of precaution and protection, combined with ongoing analyses of the needs of clients, staff, volunteers, tenants and visitors to access campus. The manual includes sections related to programs, services, HIV testing, group rentals, events rentals, operations, facilities, sanitation, building access, HR, room usage agreements, visitor responsibilities, support group meetings, legal concerns and communications.” 

HIV testing continues, and now you can drop in, without an appointment, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from noon until 6:30 p.m. 

The Pride Center used the last year to make some upgrades. Some you’ll see, some you won’t, but they all make the place better for everyone. You’ll notice better parking, and lots of spaces labeled for visitors. Some disinfecting will be done automatically using environmentally friendly products. Some air filtration and HVAC systems have been improved, and there are plexiglass shields between computers in the cybercenter. 

These are just some of the reopening actions. Protocols and hours will be changing over the summer and fall, so for the latest info please go to their website at PrideCenterFlorida.org


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