How to Get Through a Heat Wave During Quarantine

L.A. is expecting ”very warm conditions” this week. What can you do when all the normal ways to cool off are closed?

Los Angeles is expected to get a wave of near-record heat starting late this week and stretching through the weekend. Normally that might send scores of Angelenos to the beaches or public pools, or at least an air conditioned movie theater, museum, or mall. With everything closed, how do you comfortably quarantine during a heat wave—especially if you don’t have air conditioning at home?

Currently, all public beaches in L.A. County are closed to the public, including state beaches and Long Beach City beaches. County-operated beaches in Orange County are open, though city-operated beaches in San Clemente, Seal Beach, Laguna Beach, and elsewhere are not (though that hasn’t stopped some Angelenos from trying to head south; last weekend so many cars packed the freeways that there was a marked increase in auto accidents). In Ventura County, officials are attempting a “soft reopening” of Point Hueneme, allowing walking, surfing, and paddle boarding, though not sitting or lounging on the sand, and restrooms and other facilities will remain closed.

At L.A. County parks, all pools, aquatics centers, lakes, and indoor facilities are closed. Outdoor areas of those parks will be open, but are really intended for active exercise and recreation, not sitting around under a shade tree, and even then, authorities recommend that you avoid outdoor activities from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (they also suggest you wear sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat).

Under normal circumstances, the county also offers designated cooling centers for those who need a place to get indoors in the air conditioning. While the CDC has issued guidelines to municipalities on how these facilities may be able to open while observing social distancing and other best practices, it is unclear what L.A. County will be doing. A representative tells Los Angeles that “the decision to operate cooling centers during the pandemic is still being discussed.” She indicated that an announcement will likely be made on Wednesday, and said that the county and LADWP are preparing for the possibility of power outages.  

The best approach may be to attempt to make your home as cool and comfortable as possible. That could include taking cool showers or soaking your feet in a basin of water and will probably mean spending more time downstairs, if your home has multiple levels. Electric fans are (at least for now) not sold out at many local retailers, so you might want to pick one up before any the hoarding begins. And, as always, stay hydrated.

RELATED: Barbecues, Weights, and Lots of Wine: Here’s What Angelenos Are Buying Up These Days

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