Restaurant owners worry COVID-19 restrictions will confuse visitors
Downtown restaurant owners preparing to welcome tens of thousands back to the city for the annual Greater Palm Springs Pride celebration this week fear city regulations in place to battle COVID-19 will only lead to frustration when those visitors enter their businesses.
“I just want everyone to think about what’s going to happen on Sunday,” said Willie Rhine, referring to the aftermath of the Palm Springs Pride Parade, held in person this year after being canceled in 2020. “We’re going to have hundreds of thousands of people outside. As soon as the parade ends, people are going to come rushing into our restaurants, and we will have to stop them and ask them for masks.”
Rhine, co-owner of two restaurants, was among a half dozen business owners who spoke about city mandates for masks and vaccinations during a Tuesday meeting of downtown business owners. Many said they appreciate elected officials acting with caution to help assure the safety of the community. Still, they asked if now wasn’t the time to end some of the requirements the City Council put in place for both their customers and employees.
Specifically, they asked city officials attending the meeting whether Palm Springs should remain the sole jurisdiction in Riverside County that requires proof of vaccination when diners eat inside. They also questioned whether vaccinated employees should be required to wear masks.
“It’s getting old,” said restaurateur J.C. Constant of the mandates. “We all know that the numbers are getting better and better every week. …I think it should be left up to the people to do what they want to do.”
“It’s a constant battle for me to walk through my hot kitchen and remind everybody to wear a mask,” Rhine added. “Are we helping? Are we actually making a difference?”
Mayor Pro Tem Lisa Middleton and Councilmember Geoff Kors, who attended the meeting Tuesday, said they were sympathetic to the fact there could be confusion among out-of-town visitors about mask and vaccine mandates. But, they said, any consideration of further altering the rules will need to wait.
At issue, they said, is that while Palm Springs may have stricter requirements, its population, which skews older, has different needs than neighboring communities.
“We realized at the very start of COVID 18 months ago that in our community, because of a variety of factors, we had a community of people that were disproportionately at risk,” said Middleton. “We changed the rules. We will change them again. This is coming back to us for reconsideration, and if we can’t justify that it’s making a difference, then we won’t keep the rules in place.”
Middleton said the earliest the Council could consider removing any of the restrictions would be December 9, its only regular meeting next month.
The latest COVID-19 data shows 32 cases of COVID-19 reported in the city for the week that ended Monday. There were 407 new cases reported in Riverside County last week.
DEVELOPMENT REPORT: Applications for a second location for Tac/Quila, a popular restaurant in downtown Palm Springs, as well as multiple housing units, a new nightclub, and more projects have been recorded with the city’s Planning Department in recent weeks. Read the complete story here.
STATUE REMOVAL DELAYED: Members of a Palm Springs board asked to determine whether removing a statue of former Mayor Frank Bogert from in front of City Hall would damage the historical value of the building and its grounds elected not to vote on the issue Tuesday evening. The Historic Site Preservation Board (HSPB) voted 4-1 to delay a decision, citing the need for a more thorough report on the effects of its removal on City Hall. Read the complete story here.
POLICE BLOTTER: Curious about crime in Palm Springs? The Post offers a weekly police blotter as part of its mission of community service journalism in our city. This week’s blotter is for the week ending October 31. Read the complete Police Blotter here.
TRIBE CELEBRATING: All month long, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians is celebrating Native American Heritage Month by providing a look into its heritage and history. On Tuesday, the tribe shared The Legend of Moul, which tells the story of how Palm Springs and the surrounding area came to be populated with palm trees. That story is found in a 2017 edition of me ya whae, the official magazine of the tribe. The latest edition — for fall and winter 2021/2022 — is available here.
PRIDE CONTINUES: Greater Palm Springs Pride, the city’s largest celebration, lasts through Sunday when an annual parade is held downtown. All week long, expect music, parties, and more throughout Palm Springs as the community gathers to celebrate and honor the strength, equality, and self-determination of the LGBTQ community. Find a complete list of all musical performances here.
MIZELL EVENTS: The Mizell Center offers fitness classes, a bereavement support group, Dick Brodie’s Jam Session, and more today, starting at 8 AM. The center is located at 480 S. Sunrise Way. A complete list of everything offered today can be found here.
MOBILE HEALTH: A mobile health clinic will be parked at the James O. Jesse Desert Highland Unity Center, 480 W. Tramview Rd., from 9 AM until 4 PM. Operated and staffed by Borrego Health, the mobile unit will provide a variety of medical services for residents.
HORA DE CUENTOS: La bibliotecaria Nancy Valdivia lee cuentos, canta canciones y enseña conceptos de aprendizaje temprano (miércoles en español y jueves en inglés) para estudiantes de preescolar de 10:30 AM a 11:30 AM Puedes ver los videos en YouTube aquí.
LIBRARY BOARD: The Palm Springs Library Board of Trustees meets virtually at 5:30 PM. More information about that meeting can be found here.
PRIDE AT CULTURAL CENTER: The Palm Springs Cultural Center, located at 2300 E. Baristo Rd., presents an evening of short films, starting with a pre-screening reception at 6 PM. Multiple short films are shown, starting at 7 PM. The event is a joint fundraiser for both Palm Springs Pride and the Cultural Center. Tickets can be purchased here. The event kicks off a full slate of events found during Pride at the center. More information about all of the events can be found here.
BOOK CLUB: The OutBook Book Club meets at 6:30 PM via Zoom. Book club selections are chosen by group members and highlight a mix of new LGBTQ+ releases and influential classics. This week the book club will be discussing The Prettiest Star by Carter Sickels. Most titles are available as downloadable audiobooks and/or eBooks from Palm Springs Public Library. To attend the Zoom event, please email book club coordinator Hubertus Zegers at [email protected] in advance of the meeting.
PRIDE COMEDY SHOW: Mina Hartong brings her Palm Springs Pride edition of the Lez Out Loud comedy show to Runway Bar & Restaurant, starting at 6:30 PM. Online ticket sales have ended, but there may be some available in person. Hartong is well known to Palm Springs audiences, appearing at multiple venues in the city over the years. Aside from performing award-winning comedy, she is also an emcee and educator, having taught in the public school system for 21 years.
ONGOING & UPCOMING
CRWU CELEBRATION: The Come Ride With Us (CRWU) program will celebrate its anniversary Friday, November 5, with an event at James O. Jesse Desert Highland Unity Center, 480 W. Tramview Rd., starting at 4 PM. The event will feature food, prizes, a bunny hop contest, bike races and more. The program is run by the city’s Parks & Recreation Department.
SHREK PERFORMANCES: Palm Canyon Theatre’s production of Shrek The Musical ends this weekend. Showtimes are 7 PM on Thursday, 8 PM on Friday and Saturday, and 2 PM on Sunday. Children under 12 get in free with proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of the performance. For tickets or other information, call the box office at 760-323-5123 or order online by visiting PalmCanyonTheatre.org. The theater is located at 538 N. Palm Canyon Dr., at the corner of Alejo Road. Box office hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 AM until 4 PM.
PRIDE RUN: The Palm Springs Pride 5K Run & Walk takes place Saturday, November 6 at 8 AM. The event is both in-person and virtual for 2021. Registration is available here.
SKATER GIRLZ JAM: Lesbo Expo Presents hosts a woman-identified LGBTQIA+ skateboarding eventon Saturday, November 6 at Palm Springs Skate Park, 405 S. Pavilion Way. The event includes a skateboarding clinic at 2:30 PM for anyone who wishes to participate. Gates will open for ticket holders and day-of ticket sales at 4:30 PM. The main event gets underway at 5 PM. prizes will be awarded for highest Ollie, longest boardslide in transition, longest manual, dizzy lick flips, youngest ollie, and more. Tickets are available here.
MARILYN THEMED EVENT: Have you ever wanted to dress like Marilyn Monroe and run through town with a beer buzz? The Palm Springs Hash House Harriers is inviting all active-duty military, veterans, their friends, and family to participate in the “Marilyn White Dress Hash” on Saturday, November 6, from 2 PM until 5 PM. The event starts at Palm Springs American Legion Post 519, 400 N. Belardo Rd.
DOG PARK CLOSURE: The Palm Springs Dog Park behind City Hall will close for annual maintenance next week. The park, located at 3200 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way, will close starting November 11 for seeding and maintenance and is anticipated to reopen on December 20. The Demuth Dog Park, located at 4200 E. Mesquite Ave., will be open seven days a week from dawn until dusk.
VETERANS DAY PARADE: The 24th Annual City of Palm Springs Veterans Day Parade is slated for Thursday, November 11, at 3:30 PM. The parade runs along Palm Canyon Drive. This year’s theme is “Honoring All Who Serve.” A patriotic concert and fireworks finale at Palm Canyon Drive and Amado Road will immediately follow the parade. For the first time ever, this year’s Veterans Day Parade will be broadcast live on NBC Palm Springs. The deadline to enter is Oct. 28. Note that VillageFest will not be held that Thursday. For more information, visit www.psveteransdayparade.com.
WELLNESS SUMMIT: Brothers of the Desert is conducting its third annual wellness summit focusing on Black gay men and their allies in the Coachella Valley and beyond in-person (and virtually) on Saturday, November 13, at Margaritaville Resort in Palm Springs, 1600 North Indian Canyon Drive. The one-day event runs from 8:30 AM until 4:30 PM. Registration for the event is available here.
SPEAKER SERIES: The next event in the 3rd Wednesday Speakers Series is November 17 at 5:30 PM at Mizell Center, 480 S. Sunrise Way. A screening of L.A. A Queer History – Where It All Began, a film by Gregorio Davila, will precede a talk with the filmmaker moderated by Brian Blueskye, The Desert Sun’s arts and culture reporter. The history of and culture of the Los Angeles lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people is often overshadowed by their New York counterparts. In truth, Los Angeles gave rise to one of the most influential LGBTQ cultures and activist movements. Davila’s film explores this history and more. The screening is afree event. More information is available here.
DESERT JAM: The annual benefit for Palm Springs-based Well in the Desert — Desert Jam 2021: Jammin’ for the Well — is slated for Monday, December 6 at the Agua Caliente Resort Casino ballroom in Rancho Mirage at 6 PM. The Jackson-Garrett Band and a host of other musicians are slated to perform, with Jeanie Cunningham serving as masters of ceremonies. Aside from the music, attendees can expect dinner, live and silent auctions, and a special tribute honoring jazz singer Yve Evans. All proceeds benefit The Well’s work to feed and provide for those experiencing homelessness in our community. More information, including how to purchase tickets for the event can be found here or by calling 760-285-7297.
POLICE AND FIRE EVENT: The Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce is taking reservations for its annual Police & Fire Appreciation Luncheon, held Tuesday, December 7, from 11:30 AM until 1 PM at the Palm Springs Convention Center. More information about tickets and sponsorship opportunities is available here.
Want to know what’s happening in your city and at agencies that make decisions affecting your neighborhood? See below for calendars, meeting agendas, and links to all city services, police reports, code enforcement reports, and more: