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LGBT Center in Palm Springs on its re-opening date

As the news of ambitious re-opening plans are being laid across the state of California, we are doing our best to follow guidelines and refine our path towards re-opening The Center at the McDonald/Wright building in Palm Springs. Oh, how we miss you all!

And, because of our care for our community, the most important thing for us remains our collective health & wellness, for you, our members, friends, volunteers, and staff. That is why we are adamant about continuing to follow guidance from federal, state, and county public health officials, who have designated Riverside County to be in the orange tier of California’s COVID-19 reopening framework as of April 7, 2021.

Although The Center at the McDonald/Wright building in Palm Springs has no official re-opening date yet, we have three main areas of focus for our planning: Health & Wellness, Programs, and Building Readiness. The target Community Opening date for The Center Coachella is Summer 2021.

As we mentioned, Health & Wellness is our top priority. Showing care and respect for your physical well-being in the midst of this public health crisis is social caring at it’s best. Specifically, here’s what we’ve done and are planning:

  • Posted signage requiring the use of face masks or coverings, physical distancing of at least six feet within The Center, and signage encouraging frequent handwashing with soap for at least 20 seconds
  • Installed additional hand sanitizing stations with automatic dispensers
  • Invested in additional cleaning & sanitizing supplies for disinfecting areas and equipment, including electrostatic sprayers
  • Significant investments were made from our capital fund (see Building Readiness below) to upgrade our HVAC system and ducts with a new UV filter to better clean the air filtration within the building
  • Added automatic sinks, soap dispensers, and urinal flushing in the restrooms
  • Added automatic water bottle refill stations
  • Removed or limited unnecessary touchpoints, including the removal of flyers, one-use takeaways, and kept doors open where possible to minimize door knob handling
  • Purchased thermometers for symptom screening
  • Purchased additional one-use face masks
  • We are installing a new touchless check-in system for members and future guests @ The Center: members will be receiving new member cards with QR codes that will be scanned into kiosks, and future guests will be texted a QR code when they arrive to better allow us to employ contact tracing in the building and program rooms

With regards to our Programs, all existing programs have been modified to follow public health guidelines. Specifically:

  • where possible, previous programming was transitioned to online, virtual programming through Zoom, in March 2020, and new virtual programming was created to meet community needs
  • The essential program of the weekly food distribution at the Community Food Bank @ The Center was modified to a car distribution to minimize risk of long-term contact and potential COVID-19 spread & exposure amongst visitors, volunteers, and staff.
  • Invested in new technological and software upgrades to support ease of Food Bank intake and minimize handling of Food Bank cards
  • Individual, couples, family, and group therapy appointments were transitioned to virtual, video HIPAA-compliant appointments where possible, and phone appointments when necessary
  • We’ve also invested in technology upgrades like additional screens that are necessary to support future hybrid programming, allowing a mix of attendees via Zoom and in-person attendees for presentations and programs

Finally, you probably know that our building has been under construction since April 2020 for a previously planned (and separately funded) expansion of The Scott Hines Behavioral Health Clinic on our second floor of the McDonald/Wright Building, to increase our capacity to deliver clinical therapy to our community. Building Readiness continues to be a restriction for our re-opening in Palm Springs. Here’s where we are:

  • After express permission from the City of Palm Springs, we were granted the ability to start construction during the pandemic in April 2020.
  • Construction was previously scheduled to be completed in Fall 2020, but because of setbacks related to COVID-19 manufacturing & material supply chain delays, the current target for construction completion is Summer 2021.
  • Office and program room spaces inside the second and third floors are complete and look amazing!
  • The building elevator, exterior walkways, and handrails are being worked on right now, which means it’s not safe for visitors just yet.
  • We are also waiting on new occupancy permits for The Scott Hines Behavioral Health Clinic on the second floor

Until these important structural components are done and we’re cleared from the City of Palm Springs, The Center in Palm Springs will remain closed to the public.

As for The Center Coachella, we have spent the last several months readying the space for staff and community use! We are currently targeting a Community Opening date for early Summer 2021, by appointment only.

If you have specific feedback, thoughts, questions, or concerns, we would love to hear them. Email us at connect@thecentercv.org