Riverside Closes Public Access to Facilities as Precaution Against COVID-19

Riverside Closes Public Access to Facilities as Precaution Against COVID-19

Taylor Martinez

RIVERSIDE (CNS) – Riverside City Hall and most municipal agencies will be closed to the public until further notice as a precaution amid the rising spread of the coronavirus.

“Now that the number of diagnosed cases and the positivity rate are increasing very quickly in July, the city team must continue to do its part to reduce further transmission of coronavirus,” Riverside City Manager Al Zelinka said last week regarding the indefinite closures that he ordered.

The closures went into effect as of 5 p.m. Friday.

Almost all city offices, some of which had reopened between mid-April and mid-May while the city remained under a local emergency declared by the City Council on March 13, were directed to close their doors and transition to virtual, phone and mail services only.

Zelinka justified the action by pointing to escalating COVID-19 patient case counts in Riverside County overall. He also said the testing positivity rate of 16% countywide, which is double the threshold preferred by the California Department of Public Health, was concerning enough to re-shutter facilities.

According to the city manager, recent increases in coronavirus patient admissions in hospitals throughout the county were impacting the city, as well but not to the point of overloading capacity or making operations untenable.

“Riverside has an excellent medical system, and community members should continue to feel confident to receive services from their providers and hospitals,” Zelinka said.

All Riverside City Council meetings, which had been semi-open to in- person attendance, with social-distancing limitations and facial covering requirements, will be exclusively online, like the county Board of Supervisors.

Police and fire station lobbies, which had reopened in May, are now closed, as are picnic areas, playgrounds and splash pads in parks. However, some park amenities, such as tennis courts, remain accessible.

The Riverside Public Utilities Customer Care Center downtown is also closed, and the Passport Services Office, which had been slated to restart operations on Wednesday, will now remain padlocked. The Riverside Municipal Airport terminal is also locked, though private entities, including flight schools, are not affected by Zelinka’s directive.

Officials encouraged residents to use the city’s 311 call center for assistance.

More information is available at http://www.RiversideCA.gov/COVID-19.