Businesses, officials, residents watch, wait as COVID-19 cases spike
A surge of COVID-19 spreading among the nation’s unvaccinated has led several cities in Southern California to impose mask requirements again. Are similar requirements coming to Palm Springs? Not officially — yet.
Multiple retail business owners here said they are once again asking both employees and customers to wear masks inside their shops. At restaurants and grocery stores, employees mostly never stopped wearing masks after restrictions were lifted in the state last month.
“We’re all masked,” said Joy Brown Meredith, owner of Crystal Fantasy on North Palm Canyon Drive. “Right now, we’re only requesting guests wear masks, and we have them at the door.”
In Los Angeles, indoor mask requirements went back into place on July 17, regardless of vaccination status, and several cities in Los Angeles County followed suit. Neither the California Department of Public Health nor the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently recommend requiring masks for those who are vaccinated.
Riverside County, which paused daily updates as COVID-19 cases waned, last week began to reissue the reports. For the week ended July 21, nearly 1,100 new cases were reported in the county, including 40 in Palm Springs. During the previous week, Palm Springs saw only five new cases. Palm Springs has seen a total of 3,855 COVD-19 cases and 129 deaths, including one death reported earlier this month.
There are no plans to implement a citywide order requiring masks again at indoor businesses, City Manager Justin Clifton told a group of business owners during a Zoom meeting last week. He added that city officials are closely monitoring COVID-19 cases, both here and throughout the Coachella Valley.
If mask requirements are again implemented, the move would likely be met with mixed reactions. While the city has one of the highest vaccination rates in Riverside County — with nearly 75 percent of the population fully vaccinated — many residents speaking out on social media about a possible mandate said businesses should set the rules, not city officials. They also support business owners’ rights to require proof of vaccination.
“We mandate lots of things to protect the public health … so why not going into a restaurant or other business accessible to the public?” asked David Vignolo in a local Facebook group. “Every individual has the choice of whether to get vaccinated; that should have consequences, though.”
Added another resident: “I’d like all restaurants, theaters, museums, etc. to require proof of vaccination. We won’t be safe anywhere if the unvaccinated are out and about.”
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CITYWIDE SCAVENGER HUNT: Mark Saturday, October 16 on your calendars for the first-ever “PS We Love You Scavenger Hunt.” Starting at 10 AM at Palm Springs Animal Shelter and Demuth Park, individuals and teams will hunt for clues through an app-based scavenger hunt, visiting landmarks and local businesses while solving virtual clues. The team with the most points will win prizes. More information about the event, which will benefit the Palm Springs Animal Shelter, is available here.
MODERNISM SCHEDULE: Modernism Week’s 2021 Fall Preview will take place October 14-17 at various locations in the city, it was announced Sunday. The preview includes talks, tours, parties, and other special events that preview the larger annual event held February 17-27, 2022. Tickets for the Fall Preview go on sale on August 1 and are available at modernismweek.com. The full schedule of events is available on the website.
THIS WEEK’S EVENTS
MIZELL EVENTS: Chair yoga, story sharing, and an Alzheimer’s caregiver support group are all on tap today at the Mizell Center, 480 S. Sunrise Way, beginning at 8 AM. For a complete list of today’s offerings for registered members, turn here.
PARKS AND REC: The city’s Parks and Recreation Committee meets today at 5:30 PM. The agenda and information about how to participate can be found here.
ARTS COMMISSION: The city’s Public Arts Commission holds a study session starting at 5:30 PM. More information about that meeting is available here.
MIZELL EVENTS: Ten events are listed on the calendar at the Mizell Center, 480 S. Sunrise Way, starting at 8 AM. Among the events are fitness classes, card and board games, and computer tutoring. For a complete list of today’s offerings, click here.
BUSINESS MEETING: The city’s Business Retention and Economic Development Committee meets at 5:30 PM. More information about viewing the meeting, as well as the agenda, can be found here. Items on the agenda include discussion of parklets and outdoor retail displays.
VILLAGEFEST BOARD: The city’s VillageFest Board meets at 5:30 PM. An agenda for the meeting can be found here.
SCHOOL BOARD: The Palm Springs Unified School District Board of Directors meets in regular session at 6 PM. The agenda for that meeting can be found here. You can watch the meeting live online via this link.
MIZELL EVENTS: Nine programs, including Dick Brodie’s Jam Session, are on tap today at the Mizell Center, 480 S. Sunrise Way, starting at 8 AM. For a complete list of today’s offerings, click here.
APPEALS BOARD: The city’s Administrative Appeals Board meets at 5:30 PM. The agenda and call-in information can be found here.
PLANNING COMMISSION: The city’s Planning Commission meets at 5:30 PM. The agenda and call-information can be found here.
MIZELL EVENTS: The Mizell Center, 480 S. Sunrise Way, offers nine programs, starting at 8 AM. Today’s complete schedule can be found here. Included in today’s offerings is a movie, Resort to Love, in the Noia Auditorium at 10:30 AM.
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE: The Desert Water Agency’s Executive Committee meets at 8 AM. More information about that meeting will be available here when it’s released.
PRIZE DRAWINGS: The Palm Springs Public Library will hold its summer reading program grand prize drawings at 10 AM on the library’s Facebook page. The reading program concluded on July 24.
FOOD AVAILABLE: FIND Food Bank distributes food in the city today at the community food bank, 610 S. Belardo Road, between 5 PM and 7 PM. That location is open every Thursday. A complete calendar of food distribution in the community is available here.
CRITICAL RACE THEORY: The LGBTQ Community Center of the Desert hosts a virtual talk about critical race theory as part of its “Let’s Talk About Race” series at 5 PM. The online event is hosted by Lex Ortega, and registration is available here.
SUPPLIES FOR STUDENTS: A backpack and school supplies giveaway is planned at the James O. Jesse Desert Highland Unity Center, 480 W. Tramview Rd., from 5 PM until 7 PM. The event will also include information booths, games, a raffle, snacks, and haircuts and braids for students. For more information, contact the Unity Center at 760-323-8271.
FREE MUSEUM ADMISSION: The Palm Springs Art Museum offers free admission from 5 PM to 7 PM this evening. Tickets are required and can be obtained here.
VILLAGEFEST: The city’s weekly outdoor street fair takes place at 7 PM on Palm Canyon Drive between Amado Road and Tahquitz Canyon. The event includes vendor booths on both sides of the street, which is closed to vehicular traffic.
MIZELL EVENTS: The Mizell Center, 480 S. Sunrise Way, offers five programs, starting at 8 AM. Among the offerings are Wii bowling and a pair of painting studio sessions. Today’s complete schedule can be found here.
Want to know what’s happening in your city and at agencies that make decisions affecting your neighborhood? The following links should help.