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Palm Springs Residents Told To Shelter In Place

Giant wind turbines are powered by strong winds on May 13, 2008 near Palm Springs, California. David McNew/Getty Images
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In an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus, Palm Springs officials are preparing an order that will require all city residents to shelter in place and all non-essential businesses to close.

The emergency order is expected to go into effect at 7 a.m. on Wednesday, March 18, reports the Desert Sun, and will remain in effect until April 2.

Palm Springs has approximately 48,000 residents and more than a quarter of them are at least 65 years old, one of the highest risk groups to suffer serious complications from COVID-19.

The decision comes of the heels of a similar edict issued earlier this week by six counties in Northern California.

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As in the Bay Area, the shutdown does not apply to 21 types of essential businesses, including grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants (only for takeout or delivery) and hardware stores.

Even businesses that remain open must institute a 6-foot buffer between customers when they are indoors.

The Palm Springs city council is expected to ratify the emergency orders at its regular Thursday meeting. The council also requested that all residents avoid nonessential contact.

Mayor Geoff Kors told the Desert Sun that law enforcement will not be arresting business owners for staying open and will give people several days to adjust to the new regulations as police officers educate residents about the restrictions.

Two cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in west Riverside County, according to the paper. Both people are expected to recover.

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Riverside County's public health officer has reported three deaths related to coronavirus in the county.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that two cases of coronavirus had been confirmed in Riverside County. LAist regrets the error.