Cathedral City is putting more Covid-19 protective measures into place amid a growing coronavirus surge.
That includes the return of a mask mandate for people indoors and in public, and new vaccine requirements for some customers and city workers.
City hall is heading back to being mostly virtual, and within three weeks, restaurants and bars must require people coming in to prove they're vaccinated or show a recent negative Covid test. City workers will be soon to follow on that policy.
Members of the council expressed concern about the increasing rates of the virus in the community.
"I think it's bad enough that we have to do something," said Mayor Raymond Gregory.
"Right now, we're a little nervous – everybody should be a little nervous," said Council Member Nancy Ross.
Cathedral City is following in the footsteps of Palm Springs, which laid out plans last week for vaccine requirements in businesses where customers would be taking their masks off.
Jeff McDonald, owner of The Roost Lounge in Cathedral City put the same policy in place before city leaders were discussing it.
"It's just time that we step up and do so," McDonald said. "Cathedral City has not enforced it yet, but I'm not waiting."
Residents called in to the council meeting to give their support for new protections. "I know people who are starting to go from Cathedral City to Palm Springs to do their shopping, to eat in restaurants and go to bars – because they don't feel safe in our city," one caller said.
"Tourists are not going to feel safe coming here," said Council Member Rita Lamb. "They’re not going to feel safe and we’re going to suffer. So what we can do and actions we need to take – I think that's our responsibility."
Also up for discussion: requiring city workers to get vaccinated or show proof.
"We can say that if you are not vaccinated you must prove weekly that you are Covid-free if you are to roam the halls with us," Ross said.
"I do not think we should do what our neighboring city did," Mayor Pro Tem Ernesto Gutierrez said. "I think that is way overreaching."
After a vote, city council decided it's their intent to require city employees to prove they're vaccinated or have a negative test every week. Those details are expected to be finalized at a later date.