CBS Los Angeles

Palm Desert Issues Local Emergency, Closes City Buildings Due To Coronavirus Outbreak

Palm Desert has become the latest city in the Coachella Valley to declare a local emergency due to the coronavirus outbreak.

PALM DESERT (CBSLA) — Palm Desert has become the latest city in the Coachella Valley to declare a local emergency due to the coronavirus outbreak.

On Tuesday, Palm Desert City Manager Lauri Aylaian issued a local emergency, closing city hall and other city buildings until at least April 3.

“Palm Desert cares deeply about the health and well-being of its residents, business community, visitors, and staff,” the city said in a statement. “We have been working closely with Riverside County, the agency responsible for providing public health services in Palm Desert, on how to promptly and thoughtfully respond to the pandemic and the many challenges it poses.”

Officials urged residents to utilize the city website to stay up to date on information related to COVID-19.

In nearby Palm Springs, the city council Tuesday directed City Manager David Ready to order to closure of all nonessential businesses that includes a shelter in place provision for residents.

On Sunday, the cities of Indio and Cathedral City issued emergency orders themselves, which did not mandate any businesses close, but adjusted city operations and postponed city-sponsored events.

A third Riverside County resident died from complications related to COVID-19, county health officials announced Tuesday. All three deaths have occurred in the Coachella Valley, but no other details were provided by the county health officials.

On Monday, Riverside County Public Health Officer Cameron Kaiser revised previous order restricting public gatherings from 250 people or greater to no more than 10.

The new health order restricts mass gatherings of 10 people or more, and orders that gatherings with fewer than 10 people must have enough available room to maintain six feet of space between attendees — known as social distancing.

Healthcare facilities, grocery stores, daycare centers and restaurants serving take-out are exempt from the rule.

“The disease curve must be flattened, and that’s why we’re already intervening as early as possible so that our vulnerable residents are protected,” Kaiser said.

Two new cases of COVID-19 were announced in western Riverside County Tuesday, which brings the county’s total cases to 16. Most of the county’s cases are in the Coachella Valley.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)