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  • Jacob Aere

More Cool Zones Open Around San Diego As Heat Wave Continues

Above: A sign hangs on the wall inside a cool zone in City Heights, Aug. 19, 2020. PHOTO BY JACOB AERE

As a record-breaking heat wave continues across the San Diego region Wednesday, people can seek relief in cool zones.

The city of San Diego will open several recreation centers, libraries and other public buildings for people to beat the heat. The five facilities will be open from noon until 5 p.m. daily through Sunday.

Anthony Winston is making good use of one of the cooling centers in City Heights.

“It's COVID free, it has water and it's nice to get out of the house while the AC is down," Winston said. "It’s nice and cool in here.”

The new locations add to San Diego County’s nine cool zones that began operating on June 15.

Cool zone sites, mostly located in the hottest areas of the county, help older adults and others keep cool and save energy costs. They even use swamp coolers instead of air conditioning to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Taevee Davis is with the City Heights Recreation Center and Mid-City Gym. She says the cooling centers are safe and enjoyable.

“What we offer here besides the big cool zone is a clean, safe area for the public to come if they don't have a cool zone to go to," she said. "We are offering water and of course going by county guidelines to protect everyone as far as protocols.”

All cooling centers require mandatory mask-wearing with social distancing protocols in place. Anyone entering a cool zone will have their temperature taken. Time limits may be in place due to limited capacity. Animals, except service animals, are not permitted in cooling zones.

An excessive heat warning is in place until 10 p.m. Thursday in the San Diego County valleys, mountains and deserts.

A statewide Flex Alert to voluntarily conserve electricity remains in effect from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday.

To help homebound community members beat the heat, the county provides free electric fans to those who are living on limited incomes.

To be eligible, a resident must not have access to an air-conditioned space at their home. To learn more about the fan program or to request a fan, call Aging & Independence Services at (800) 339-4661.

In the hot weather, the National Weather Service urges residents to drink plenty of fluids, stay out of the sun and check on relatives and neighbors.

The county says to never leave young children, seniors and pets unattended in a vehicle, with car interiors able to “reach lethal temperatures no matter what the weather is like.”

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