City’s COVID-19 restrictions will change Monday to align with state
Palm Springs will align with state coronavirus guidelines starting Monday, City Manager Justin Clifton announced Thursday evening, resulting in the removal of mandates requiring masks be worn inside by vaccinated individuals and that proof of vaccination be presented for indoor restaurant dining.
Clifton was given authority by the City Council at its Feb. 10 meeting to decide when the requirements could be lifted. He was instructed to base his decisions on scientific data and other signals that he chose to monitor. COVID-19 data presented by city staff Thursday evening showed a much-improved situation in Palm Springs.
Clifton and Council members were informed during the City Council’s regular meeting that current COVID-19 levels in the city are at their lowest point since October and are lower than most other cities in Riverside County and the state. In addition, testing of the city’s wastewater shows there are an estimated 550 cases of coronavirus in the city. Just one month ago, there were an estimated 40,000 cases in the community.
During more than two years dealing with the pandemic, Palm Springs has reported more than 7,360 cases of COVID-19, ranking it seventh among the Coachella Valley’s nine cities. However, its 146 reported deaths are the second-most in the valley after Indio’s 272.
The data shows that cases in the city have generally aligned with those reported across the country in recent weeks, dropping significantly. They dropped 12% week-over-week at last report.
The state eased its restrictions earlier this month, allowing vaccinated individuals to remove their masks in all but some settings, including hospitals and public transportation. The state also mandates face coverings for unvaccinated people in indoor public settings, such as shops, gyms, bars, and movie theaters.
Also on Thursday, it was announced the city would recognize March 7 as COVID-19 Memorial Day, paying tribute to all those who have lost their lives and otherwise suffered during the pandemic.
In other action Thursday evening:
- The Council unanimously denied an appeal of a Historic Site Preservation Board (HSPB) decision that allowed the removal and relocation of the Mayor Frank Bogert statue to move forward. The city now plans to decide where to relocate the statue. However, the city could be forced to delay the move as it is believed that taxpayers will foot the bill for defending a lawsuit brought by The Friends of Frank Bogert, which had appealed the HSPB decision through their attorney, Rod Pacheco.
- A proposal to limit fireworks displays to only July 4 and Veterans Day failed but was followed by another motion to allow traditionally louder fireworks on those holidays and quieter, or smaller, fireworks for private events. That motion passed, 3-2, with Mayor Lisa Middleton and Councilmember Geoff Kors in opposition. In May 2021, the Council voted to ban fireworks displays — canceling the city’s July 4 display after 50 years — only to move to allow them on the two holidays four months later.
- City Clerk Anthony Mejia, who is departing to work for another Coachella Valley city, was lauded for his service. Mejia was first appointed to the role in 2017. In addition to his work in Palm Springs, he has served in multiple leadership roles with the City Clerks Association of California.
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH:
RECTOR INSTALLATION: The Rev. Jessie Thompson and the Rev. Daniel Kline will be officially installed as the co-rectors of the Church of St. Paul in the Desert starting at 4 p.m. Saturday, and the public is invited. The Palm Springs Interfaith Clergy, the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego, and the parishioners of St. Paul’s plan a reception following the installation. The church is located at 125 West El Alameda.
? Today’s events
Highlights of what’s happening today in Palm Springs. Find complete listings on our community calendar.
- Modernism Week – the city’s annual celebration of all things midcentury modern – continues through the weekend. Details are here.
- The International Bear Convergence continues today and runs all weekend. Complete details are here.
- McCormick’s 72nd Classic Car Auction begins today and runs all weekend.
- Coffee In Color, an art presentation and fundraiser presented by Starbucks Reserve and The LGBTQ Community Center of the Desert, takes place at 5:30 p.m.
- The Palm Springs American Legion presents The Unknowns tonight from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m.
- Desert Ensemble Theatre continues performances of Salty tonight through Sunday.
- Palm Canyon Theatre’s next performance – Palm Springs Getaway – starts this evening and runs through the weekend.
☀️ This weekend
- The Palm Springs Black History Parade and Town Fair takes place Downtown on Saturday starting at 10 a.m.
- A community cleanup is planned by The Community Partnership on Homelessness Saturday starting at 8 a.m.
- Well in the Desert distributes food every Saturday at 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. at 181 N. Indian Canyon Dr.
- The Palm Springs Certified Farmers’ Market takes place at 2300 E. Baristo Rd. from 8:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.
- The Palm Springs Sunshine Sisters are holding events on Saturday including yoga and a bike ride.
- A teacher recruitment fair for the Palm Springs Unified School District is taking place Saturday, starting at 9 a.m.
- The Palm Springs American Legion hosts a Mardi Gras show featuring The Trainor Brothers Saturday night between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.
- The Palm Springs Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence holds its next bingo event Sunday at 7 p.m. at One Eleven Bar.