California’s progress in the battle against COVID-19 is being mirrored in Palm Springs, which will align with state and federal reopening guidelines to ease some mask requirements, officials said late last week. The city also expects to return to in-person use of some of its buildings.
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced April 27 the state would follow new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), allowing people to walk, run or bike outdoors with members of their own household without a mask, regardless of whether they are vaccinated. People who are vaccinated do not have to wear masks for small outdoor gatherings and for outdoor dining with people from other households.
Masks are still urged for anyone attending an indoor activity or going inside a business, as well as those attending a crowded outdoor event such as a concert, parade or sporting event. Businesses in Palm Springs and surrounding cities have been operating at increased capacity since early April, with all open for some form of indoor or outdoor operation.
In the coming days, the city itself will begin throwing doors of its buildings open to the public once again. City Hall is expected to reopen in the next few weeks — and the main branch of the city library, at 300 S. Sunrise Way, is anticipated to reopen to the public even sooner.
The library plans to reopen Wednesday. Hours of operation are Monday through Thursday, 10AM-6PM, Friday and Saturday, 10AM-5PM. Masks are mandatory for everyone over the age of 2, and patrons are asked not to spend more than an hour inside the building. Computers will be available for use. In addition, due to its popularity and convenience, Library-A-Go-Go service is continuing. Passport service is slated to resume in the near future.
In other signs of a return to pre-pandemic life, the city is expected to vote this month to once again host Village Fest, the popular Thursday evening street fest, starting July 1.
Newly reported cases of COVID in the city dropped to their lowest level in months last week, according to the latest data available. A report released April 28 shows seven new cases were reported in the city in the prior week. The city had averaged about 17 new cases per week during the four prior weeks. There were no new COVID deaths reported in Palm Springs — the third consecutive week without a reported COVID death.
Statewide, roughly 50 percent of the population has received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, helping allow for eased restrictions. The state’s rate of infection of 33 cases per 100,000 people is less than a third of the U.S. average of 116 cases. In Riverside County, that rate is 3.3 people per 100,000 population.
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OSCAR’S TO RELOCATE? Discussion of a proposed wall around Plaza Las Flores at Indian Canyon and East Tahquitz Canyon Way as Grit Development moves forward with converting the retail and office complex into a suite hotel is on the agenda of the city’s Architectural Advisory Committee when it meets tonight at 5:30 PM. Information on attending that meeting, virtually, is located here. The building is currently home to Oscar’s Restaurant. The owner of the property has indicated he is hoping to help Oscar’s relocate when the space is converted to a hotel.
TRAFFIC FATALITY: Speed may have been a factor in a fatal collision in the early hours Saturday on Gene Autry Trail near the wash. According to a report, officers responded at approximately 3:17 AM to the area just south of Interstate 10 and found a Chevrolet Malibu and Honda CRV had been in an accident. The investigation revealed the Honda was traveling southbound on Gene Autry Trail at a high rate of speed and rear ended the Chevrolet. The Honda continued west into the desert area and overturned. The driver of the Honda was ejected and he was pronounced deceased shortly after being transported to the hospital.
ONE-PS: The Organized Neighborhoods of Palm Springs (ONE-PS) Board meets at 2:30 PM via Zoom. Instructions for dialing in to that meeting are here. ONE-PS is comprised of representatives from the recognized neighborhood organizations in Palm Springs. Each recognized neighborhood organization is represented by one voting member and one alternate member.
PLANS FOR FORMER HOTEL SITE: The city’s Architectural Advisory Committee meets at 5:30 PM tonight and will, among other things, discuss the latest developments in a proposed six-story, 62-unit condominium project at the site of a formerly-proposed Virgin Hotel, bound by Belardo Road to the west, Andreas Road to the north, and Museum Way to the south. The committee will be reviewing designs for outdoor space at the project, including a “Market Street” walkway with room for vendor carts, public seating, and strands of lights above the entire street.
- WATER MEETING: The Desert Water Agency Board of Directors meets via Zoom at 8 AM. Information about how to watch the meeting is here. An agenda for the meeting is here. Among items being discussed in closed session is ongoing litigation between the agency and the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians.
- MAIN STREET MEETING: Main Street Palm Springs, a group dedicated to business owners in downtown Palm Springs, holds its regular meeting at 8:30 AM. Information about joining that meeting can be found here.
- SOLAR AND GREEN: The city’s Standing Subcommittee on Solar and Green Building meets at 10:30 AM. Information on that meeting can be found here.
- TEEN EVENT: Teen librarian Sean Corbin hosts “This is NOT Teen Talk” at 4 PM on Instagram Live.
- HISTORIC PRESERVATION: The city’s Historic Site Preservation Board meets at 5:30 PM. Information on the agenda for that meeting, and viewing the meeting, can be found here.
- ONE-PS: The ONE-PS Code Enforcement & Public Works Committee meets at 10 AM. Information on joining that meeting via Zoom can be found here.
- LIBRARY BOARD: The Palm Springs Public Library Board of Trustees meets at 5:30 PM. Information on viewing and participating in that meeting can be found here. The agenda can be viewed here.
- HUMAN RIGHTS: The city’s Human Rights Commission holds a special meeting, starting at 5:30 PM. Information on joining that meeting can be found here. The meeting is being held to finish work on the Commission’s recommendation to remove the statue of former mayor Frank Bogert from in front of City Hall. We reported on that decision in our April 13 edition.
- BOOK CLUB: The OutBook Book Club meets via Zoom at 7 PM. Information on joining that meeting can be found here. This month they are discussing “In the Absence of Men” by Philippe Besson.
- STORY TIME: “Read-To-Me Story Time” with Nancy Valdivia, the city’s children’s librarian, takes place at 10 AM this morning on YouTube and Facebook.
- T-SHIRT TOTE: Join Palm Springs Pubic Library’s librarian, Sharon Ballard, to learn how to repurpose T-shirts on Facebook or on the Library’s YouTube channel. The event gets underway at 2 PM.
- WASTE REDUCTION: The city’s Standing Subcommittee on Waste Reduction meets at 2 PM. There is no information available anout how to join the meeting online.
- CITY COUNCIL: The regular meeting of the Palm Springs City Council is held starting at 5:30 PM. Information about viewing that meeting and the complete agenda can be found here. Items up for discussion include early construction start times at a city park under development downtown, an alcohol license for a dinner club in South Palm Springs, and authorization to pay for a fireworks show on July 4. In closed session prior to the meeting, city officials are set to discuss terms for relocating homeless services provider Well In The Desert to the former Palm Springs Boxing Club near the city’s airport.
- OUTDOOR ART: Desert X art installations are on display throughout the Coachella Valley, including several within the Palm Springs city limits. The free event runs through May 16. A map of the installations can be found here. Some require reservations to view.
- VACCINES: Anyone 16 and older now qualifies for a COVID-19 vaccine in Riverside County. If you qualify, you can get one at the Palm Springs Convention Center, 277 North Avenida Caballeros, from 8 AM-5 PM through Friday. Appointments are encouraged, but not required, and can be reserved online at www.rivcoph.org/COVID-19-Vaccine. You can also find a list of community providers such as pharmacies here.