City Hall in Cathedral City will continue to be closed to the public, unless by appointment, due to rising COVID-19 cases.
City spokesperson Chris Parman said the city had planned to reopen at the start of 2022, but postponed it because of the COVID-19 spike. City Hall was similarly closed to the public without appointments from March 2020 to March 2021, according to Parman.
“From last March to about August, we were open downstairs on limited hours or by appointment only. Our limited hours were … from 10 a.m. to about 3 p.m,” Parman said. “In August, we had a spike in COVID and so then we went to appointment only. We've been appointment only since August.”
City Manager Charlie McClendon said many services can be provided over the phone or internet, but if there is a resident who needs a service in person, a city staffer will meet them outside.
“People just need to call ahead or email ahead or use our website, but we are providing the city services and I hope that one more week of this, we'll be able to be open completely,” McClendon said. “But you know, it's kind of a fluid situation so we're playing it one day at a time.”
There are currently 15 city staffers that are either positive for COVID-19 or were exposed to the virus, McClendon said. This figure was 23 employees in early January, according to a Jan. 12 City Council meeting.
City staffers that were able to work remotely did so from March 2020 to March 2021, according to Parman. Those that are working indoors at City Hall have been abiding by California Division of Occupational Safety and Health rules, he said.
The Cathedral City Police Department’s doors are also closed, but there is a buzzer that goes to dispatch that people can use to get assistance, McClendon said. He said the police department, fire department and public works department are working in the field like they always have.
The Coachella Valley added 1,543 new COVID-19 cases last week, of which 156 were Cathedral City residents. There have been 9,367 cases in the city since the start of the pandemic.
Ani Gasparyan covers the western Coachella Valley cities of Desert Hot Springs and Cathedral City. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: City Hall remains closed to the public in Cathedral City, unless by appointment