The doorbell of Mäkelänkatu 50 B rings. Someone wants to visit Day Center Illusia. Before March 2020 there was no doorbell, just an open door. This is one of the many restrictions that the current pandemic has brought to Day Center Illusia.
Where a room full of people chatting was, now we have a room not so full, where workers always have to remind the visitors about the things they can’t do. This small article will tell you how Illusia Day Center has been working, and how it has changed to follow the government restrictions.
Read more about Day Center Illusia and its activities before restrictions here.
With a mask in one hand and the disinfectant gel in the other, workers welcome the customers.
For me, as a volunteer in Illusia, the day starts around 8:30, when I arrive to the Day Center. I’ve been working there as a volunteer since October. Since December, I’m working there on the weekends. Weekends are always a question mark, sometimes we have many customers, sometimes we don’t have that many. But routines and problems are always the same.
Day center opens at 9. When someone rings the bell, one of the workers opens the door. With a mask in one hand and the disinfectant gel in the other, they welcome the newcomers. When coming in everyone must wear a mask and disinfect their hands.
Once inside, the worker asks what the customer needs. Some just want food, while others want to take a nap, have a shower, storage their belongings in lockers, use the computer or phone, or just sit down for a while.
In any case, these trivial activities have rules: just 30 minutes. Since this second wave of restrictions started, the workers try to implement the 30 minutes rule. This rule exists to give everyone equal opportunity for the same things. The main idea is always to have circulation, so that nobody is ever stopped at the same place.
It’s challenging to control: people cannot stay for long periods, people must wear a mask, and people cannot eat or drink inside.
In my opinion, the worst restriction is that no one is allowed to eat or drink inside. A customer usually can have a warm meal (they can also have a cold one and just take it away with them), and sometimes a small bag with an item like bread, pulla, juice, cookies, tuna… This depends on what we have, if we have something to give. Weekends are always unsure since we don’t receive new goods for those two days. Sometimes, on Sunday, we just have a warm meal to offer.
As you can imagine, this is very challenging for the workers to control: people cannot stay for long periods, people must wear a mask, and people cannot eat or drink inside. It is not easy to tell someone that they have to move on from a certain place; it is not easy to wear a mask all the time. Imagine a worker who wears it at least 6 hours, or a customer who has switched off the world. It is not easy to tell someone that they cannot eat inside when it is snowing outside. These are the main restrictions that customers and workers have to deal with every day.
Illusia Day Center has been working during the pandemic, especially during the second wave. It is not possible to play boardgames or billiard, watch TV, or cook together. But if these are the rules to keep the day center open, I believe it is worth doing it. It is better to be open with restrictions than be closed without restrictions.