County Officials to Give Guidelines on Cooling Centers

Nico Payne

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As we start to reach triple-digit temperatures, one concern moving forward is cooling centers and how they will operate as we continue to practice social distancing.

People who are familiar with the heat know how important to keep cool and as we move into the summer months. Organizers say they do plan on opening cooling centers, but right now they are waiting on guidance from the county to do so.

The Joslyn Center in Palm Desert has been a designated Riverside County cooling center and they plan on continuing their service this summer.

“Cooling centers don’t officially start till June 1st, so we are waiting on guidance from the county of riverside on that,” said Jack Newby, Executive Director of the Joslyn Center.

County officials are working on guidelines for cooling centers and are looking at the possibility of opening sooner than June 1st.

“If the weather continues to be a factor, which it sounds like it might be. we might have to begin our season sooner, but we can’t do anything until we are actually able to coordinate with all of our community partners,” explained Jose Arballo Jr. Senior Public Information Specialist with Riverside County.

Now that movie theatres and shopping centers are closed, as temperatures rise people will be looking for alternative ways to beat the heat.

“There’s a lot of people out there that don’t have access to air conditioning for whatever reason. these cooling centers provide a nice comfortable area, safe, where they can get out of the heat, they can get a break and they can just cool themselves down,” added Arballo.

Other designated cooling centers like Martha’s Village and the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission are also prepared to assist after guidelines are issued. With the new guidelines, cooling centers will be different than before.

“We’ll have to institute social distancing, if the guidance includes wearing masks, we will have to ask people to wear masks, said Newby.

County officials say that social distancing is a big factor as they work on getting these guidelines in place, in the meantime, they want to remind people to stay hydrated, and if people they have to go outside, try to do so in the morning or evening hours when it’s cooler.

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