Amid a forecast for poor air quality in parts of the Bay Area and a statewide call for power conservation during a predicted heat wave, many outdoor spots where Bay Area residents usually let off steam on Labor Day weekend will be closed, and cities are scrambling to keep vulnerable residents safe.
California's Independent System Operator, which manages the state's power grid, asked residents to take measures such as limiting their use of major appliances and setting air conditioner thermostats to 78 in order to conserve energy from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has issued a Spare the Air Alert for Friday and Saturday, which makes it illegal to burn wood or wood products. And it says the Santa Clara Valley and parts of the North Bay could have unhealthy air through Monday. More information is available on the Spare the Air website.
On Saturday, Sept. 5, and as needed during the heat advisory, the city of Menlo Park will open two cooling stations from noon to 5 p.m., located at the Onetta Harris Community Center at 100 Terminal Ave. and the Arrillaga Recreation Center at 700 Alma St.
People will be expected to sign in, wear face masks and maintain social distancing and can expect access to air conditioning, comfortable seating, water and Wi-Fi, according to an email from Menlo Park councilwoman Betsy Nash.
The Point Reyes National Seashore will be closed, and visitors are asked to stay away from the entire area, though some parts may be open to visitors.
Many beaches along the San Mateo and Santa Cruz coasts also will be closed, including those in Pacifica, Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz and the city of Monterey. Traffic in some coastal areas is likely to be snarled with some restrictions still in force as a result of the wildfires of the past two weeks.
One bright spot: Many East Bay Regional Parks will be open. But the district warned in a statement Thursday that air quality is likely to be poor, and most typical Labor Day activities, including picnicking, barbecuing, boating and swimming, will not be permitted.
Mass transit agencies, including CalTrain and BART, will follow a Sunday schedule on Monday. More information is available here. BART, which now closes at 9 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, also will follow its Sunday schedule on Labor Day. More information here.
Cities across the Bay Area plan to open cooling centers for residents to find daytime respite from the weekend's most intense heat. All plan to enforce COVID-19 prevention measures, including requirements to wear face coverings. Some will allow food, others will not. Most will not allow pets.
The most accurate information will be available on each city's own website. Here is a sampling.
In Santa Clara County, cooling centers will be open in Cupertino, San Jose, Morgan Hill and Mountain View on Saturday through Monday, or on just Sunday and Monday, depending on the center. More information is posted here.