City residents and leaders respond to lifting of slowly declining COVID restrictions


In recent weeks, COVID cases have increased in Riverside County and statewide. Although June 15 marks the state’s reopening, many cities, counties and businesses have started implementing their own restrictions as concerns about the Delta variant grow.

Riverside County public health officials last week recommended people wear masks indoors, regardless of their immunization status.

This week, Palm Springs City Council adopted new precautions at a special emergency meeting to respond to alarming transmission trends with COVID-19. Vaccines will be needed for customers to enter restaurants and bars. Those who do not want to be vaccinated can justify a negative Covid test within 72 hours. The change will take effect within three weeks.

Palm Springs city officials also brought back a mask warrant when they are also inside in public.

The city of Desert Hot Springs has followed suit by taking action requiring masks inside its town hall.

“I think like everyone else it’s getting more and more serious. You see the new variety,” said Desert Hot Springs mayor Tem Russell Betts.

The situation caused the regression of the previously lifted guidelines.

“We had opened our city council rooms for meetings, but we just went virtual for committees and council, so no audience is allowed inside anymore,” Betts said.

Betts said the rules have only changed in the past few days.

We have contacted other towns around the valley to see what their current position is.

Executives from Cathedral City, Palm Desert, La Quinta and Coachella told News Channel 3 that they will all align with county and state.

Cathedral City Mayor Raymond Gregory responded:

Cathedral City has followed state and county guidelines, which currently recommend that all people wear a face mask indoors, regardless of their immunization status. Yesterday, the city manager, as the director of emergency services for Cathedral City, issued a directive requiring that face masks be worn by everyone inside a city facility, with immediate effect.

We have our regular city council meeting next Wednesday night. There is already an item on the agenda to review our emergency actions related to COVID-19. I anticipate that we will discuss our current stance on masks and decide if further adjustments are needed. I’m also planning a discussion on the immunization status of city employee groups and whether we should move forward with more stringent immunization requirements.

A response from the mayor of Palm Desert, Pro Tem Jan Harnik, said, “Palm Desert follows the directives and mandates of Riverside County. The city performs daily checks on numbers and trends and discusses and assesses possible needs. City employees are required to wear masks in town hall and visitors to town hall are encouraged to wear masks. “

Coachella Mayor Steven Hernandez responded by stating that “Throughout the pandemic, the city of Coachella has followed the recommendations of the Riverside County Department of Health. We will continue to do so as long as this pandemic continues. We would like to remind everyone that the Delta is especially spread among people who are not vaccinated. Please do your part and get vaccinated. “

Meanwhile, Riverside County won’t be more restrictive than the state anytime soon, according to a county spokesperson.

“We are absolutely seeing the numbers increase and it is certainly something that we are monitoring very closely and taking action where appropriate,” said Shane Reichardt, senior public information specialist for the Department of Public Information Management. Riverside County Emergencies.

Residents of the valley and visitors who spoke to News Channel 3 expressed mixed reactions.

“I think if everyone got vaccinated we wouldn’t be in this situation,” said visitor Trudy Beane.

“I want to cry a little inside. I don’t want to be seen as someone who breaks the rules and puts others at risk, so I do,” said Jason Peters, a resident of Cathedral City.

“I think they have to do what they have to do but I think it’s very inconsistent and I think as residents you still have the right. People are vaccinated and they say you can come in and then all of a sudden if you’re vaccinated or not you have to wear a mask, “said visitor Raquel Worley.

We asked Palm Desert Lounge owner Jeffrey Alan if he would like Palm Desert to do the same as Palm Springs by imposing masks inside.

“It’s a cinch, I think with the way this variant spreads I don’t really know. I think it would be safe to do so. There’s a double-edged sword to that – people feel like we’ve been through it – we’ve been vaccinated and it’s not that bad. I’ve had friends who’ve been vaccinated and contracted COVID. So you hear both sides , but I wouldn’t mind the warrant, ”Alan said.

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