Thousands hit SoCal beaches to escape heat as health officials urge caution amid COVID-19

Los Angeles County opened cooling centers to help those who don't have air conditioning.
Thousands hit Southern California beaches to escape the heat amid scorching temperatures on Saturday and health officials were urging everyone to wear a face covering and practice physical distancing.

Los Angeles County opened cooling centers to help those who don't have air conditioning.

Some of the cooling centers include Claremont Library on Harvard Avenue, the Stevenson Ranch Library on The Old Road and the Quartz Hill Library on West Avenue M-2.

The cooling centers will be open from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday with physical distancing measures in place. A full list of cooling centers in Los Angeles County can be found here.

Most beaches were shut down for the Fourth of July holiday weekend due to the coronavirus pandemic, but with the sand and parking lots back open, crowds once again flocked to coastal cities like Santa Monica.

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Fresno resident Kimberly William was excited to hit the beach for a girls weekend, looking to escape the heat in Santa Monica.

"We're anticipating it to be packed, so we brought our masks, and taking safety precautions, and just came to have a nice time," she said.

Santa Monica officials are reminding everyone to wear a mask. Failure to do so can result in a $100 fine for a first violation, and up to $500 for a third violation.

Some said most people are adhering to the face covering order in Santa Monica.

"Even when it looks crowded... as you're walking up, from what we've seen, people are social distancing pretty well," Jin Chang said.

Meanwhile, some people were keeping cool under the canopy at Sorriso Ristorante & Bar in Old Town Pasadena on Friday.

The restaurant rushed to get a number of umbrellas as they prepared to expand into one of the city's new outdoor dining parklets.

The move comes just as Mother Nature turns up the heat, with triple digit temperatures possible.

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Staying hydrated and dressing for the weather will be key, especially with COVID-19 guidelines.

"It's really important to use the masks safely, even in the heat," Dr. Victor Waters with Dignity Health St. Bernardine Hospital. "I usually advise that people use lighter masks, masks that are light because dark absorbs heat."

Wearing light colors and a wide-brim hat can help to stay cool, especially for those working outdoors.

Additionally, shade is of course always safer being in direct sunlight.

That's why umbrellas will be key for workers and customers headed out this weekend to enjoy Pasadena's new extended outdoor dining areas.

The program is set to expand across the city throughout July.

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