Fourteen cool centers are scheduled to open Monday in Riverside County. According to officials, there will be "modifications to accommodate coronavirus safety guidelines."
All visitors and staff will be asked to wear face coverings and practice social distancing.
Within the Coachella Valley, cool centers will be available at the following locations:
- Coachella Senior Center (seniors only), Coachella
- Coachella Valley Rescue Mission, Indio
- Martha's Village and Kitchen, Indio
- Palm Springs High School, Palm Springs
- Well in the Desert, Palm Springs
Hours and days of operation vary. For a full list of centers throughout the county, click here.
Coachella Valley has already seen a stretch of triple-digit temperatures, with above-average heat this week.
Jose Arballo is the pubic information specialist for Riverside County Public Health. He said, "In past years we have been able to open up a little sooner because of weather, if it heats up sooner than June 1st." But this year, new guidelines have them scrambling to even keep that date as the opening.
“Cool centers make it possible for residents to escape extreme heat and high temperatures during the summer months, particularly those among the most vulnerable populations, like seniors,” said Kim Saruwatari, director of Public Health, in an emailed statement. “Safety precautions in the time of coronavirus are being implemented to further protect visitors.”
The cool centers are expected to stay open through the fall.
For seniors who are worried about running their air conditioning, officials with Riverside County said they should run it. They have programs available through their offices to help pay for that extra cost. More information on those programs can be found through the Office on Aging and Community Action Partnership.