A shelter-in-place order went into effect in Palm Springs on Wednesday after a third coronavirus-related death in the Coachella Valley was reported the day before.
The order limits residents’ activities to only those that are essential to their daily lives, like going to the doctor, or picking up food, medicine and other household necessities, according to a statement from the Palm Springs City Council.
It also mandates that non-essential businesses close temporarily beginning 7 a.m. Wednesday.
Residents can still take part in outdoor activities, such as walking and hiking, but they must maintain a distance of at least 6-feet from other people, according to City Council, which posted a list of exceptions to the order.
The order will remain in effect until at least April 2.
“There is nothing more important than the health and well-being of our residents, workforce, and visitors,” Palm Springs Mayor Geoff Kors said in the statement. “Given the rapid spread of COVID-19, and the long incubation period, the action of the City Council closing all non-essential businesses and having people stay in place will help prevent more infections, illnesses and deaths.”
More than 8 million residents are currently under in a shelter-in-place order in California.
The drastic measure in Palm Springs was taken after public health officials announced a third death linked to COVID-19 in the Coachella Valley, where the majority of Riverside County’s 16 diagnosed cases.
An additional two cases were also confirmed on Tuesday, both in the western part of the county — a first in that area, officials said.
At a news conference Wednesday, officials described one of the two new patients as a man over the age of 70 from Corona, and the other as a man under 50 years old from Eastvale.
Riverside County officials have been implementing measures to encourage social distancing in an attempt to curb the virus’ spread.
For instance, a health order issued this week limited the maximum amount of a people at a gathering to 10, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In response, county buildings closed to the public starting Wednesday.
“County government will continue to perform the vital services relied upon by residents and visitors,” according to a news release from the Riverside University Health System. “Community members are urged to visit county department websites, or call for assistance on how to complete requests online, over the phone or through the mail.”
There are some exceptions to the order, including day care centers, but those must adhere to certain guidelines.
In addition, all schools in Riverside County have been closed through at least April 30. Gov. Gavin Newsom, however, said schools across the state will likely be closed for the remainder of the school year.
The county is also starting to ramp up testing, but it’s currently by appointment only, officials emphasized. Those who want one still must get a referral from a physician to a testing center, which now includes a drive-thru site on the eastern part of the county.
The latest information on the novel coronavirus can be found on the public health department’s website here.