Pandemic Leaves People With Few Places To Cool Off, As Temperatures Rise

People sit on the beach at Crissy Field, June 2019
Photo credit Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The coronavirus pandemic is making this heat wave even harder to bear for many.

The National Weather Service has issued excessive heat watches and warnings for portions of California with some areas experiencing near record breaking heat up to 10 to 20 degrees above normal.

In the Bay Area, inland temperatures could reach 105 to 108 degrees and the sweltering heat is expected to last through the weekend and into next week.

For people without air conditioning, most of the usual places to go to beat the heat such as malls, restaurants and movie theaters are closed. Health officials fear that the heat wave will lead to huge crowds at popular parks and beaches, and are asking people to seek less popular outdoor spaces.

Many cities are also opening cooling centers where guests will be required to wear masks, socially distance and pass a temperature check.

"If someone is 100 degrees or higher then we will ask you to sit in the shade and maybe cool off," said Sandra Rios at a cooling center along the Peninsula.

But even those are expected to be limited as libraries and senior centers, which often host cooling centers, are also closed because of the pandemic.

PG&E has posted a "Find a Cooling Center" search function on its website to help residents find safe places to cool off.