NEWS


Shoppers strolled along the booths at the Poway Farmer’s Market, officially allowed to open March 21. (photo by John Gregory)

Residents cope with closings

Life is different now. Efforts to contain the coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic reached Poway in full force last week. 

Residents are dealing with a prolonged period of relative isolation, planning emergency finances and caring for children who no longer have classes to attend for the immediate future and possibly beyond. 

Word of the coronavirus already had the public on edge as everyone waited for new developments. Local shoppers followed the trend of bulk-buying as they stocked up in case orders were announced to restrict public contact. After all, similar declarations had been given in other countries and even in some areas of the U.S.

Then, the State of California instituted orders to limit the size of all gatherings, among other emergency orders. Major events were canceled. Smaller events were cancelled. Then, the Poway Unified School District ordered all its schools to close from March 16 through April 3 – pending further notice.

The Poway City Council ratified the city’s declaration of a local emergency at a special council meeting on Wednesday, March 18, in response to the COVID-19 public health crisis. Declaring a local emergency authorized the city manager to take necessary actions to protect the public and welfare of the city from serious and imminent threat of the COVID-19 outbreak.

But that was only the beginning. Several new federal, state and county orders were issued between March 16 and March 20. The most striking came March 19 when California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an order that all individuals living in the state stay home to slow the spread of the virus. Only businesses and services termed “essential” are allowed to stay open.

Most adults must work from home, gatherings are limited and travel has been restricted. Families with parents required to report to work at their places of business were struck with the dilemma of how to care for their children while schools are closed. Those staying home face questions of how to keep their children occupied. It’s not easy since most events have been cancelled, museums and amusement parks have closed and most businesses offering activities for kids have been forced to shut down temporarily.  

Local grocery stores remained open and were inundated with customers. Shelves of toilet paper and hand sanitizer were emptied. Cans of soup were grabbed up. Checkout lines once packed with customers are now monitored and shoppers are spread apart from one another to keep the mandated 6-foot distance. Most grocery stores limit shopping to only two of the same items per shopper. Poway shoppers – for the most part – remained polite, friendly and retained a sense of humor.

On Saturday, March 21, traffic on major streets was mild. About half the parking spaces at local shopping centers were filled, but shoppers were still active. The Poway Farmer’s Market quickly reopened since farmer’s markets appeared on the list of essential businesses. The  much smaller market was set up, with vendor spaces at least 10-feet apart. A park ranger was observing the operation. Some nearby businesses on Midland Road were open. A short distance away, The Hamburger Factory in Old Poway Park brought orders of food to customers in their cars in the parking lot – one at a time.  

Closings, cancellations

• The Poway Library is closed. It has cancelled all public programs, classes and events. Due dates will be extended until it reopens. No returns will be accepted. Curbside service is no longer available.

• The City of Poway postponed or cancelled non-essential meetings, gatherings, classes, camps, facility rentals and events that fall within guidance recently provided by the state.

• Poway City Hall and all city buildings are closed to the public. Essential services will continue to be provided and staffing for non-essential services will be reduced. Additional services will be offered by appointment as staffing allows. 

• All high school sports have been stopped. 

• Poway Unified School District offers breakfast and lunch pickup for students between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Mondays through Fridays at numerous sites including Meadowbrook Middle School, Midland Elementary School, Pomerado Elementary School, Poway High, Twin Peaks Middle School and Valley Elementary School.

• Little League activities have been suspended until May 11. 

• Old Poway Park is closed. Train rides, the Museum and Nelson House, Boardwalk Craft Market and Wool Barn have ceased operations until further notice.

• The Poway Chamber of Commerce postponed its events, including the Americana Festival which has been rescheduled for September. 

• All fishing and boating activities at Lake Poway are suspended.

• The Poway Swim Center is closed to the public.

• The Poway Senior Center is closed.

• All shows and events at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts have been canceled through the end of May. 

•  The Kumeyaay Ipai Interpretive Center is closed until further notice.

Stay connected

The Poway Eagle social media network – Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts – will provide regular updates each day. Readers may also visit eaglesd.com.

Anyone may share new, local information regarding events that are cancelled, shortages, and ways residents and organizations are continuing to keep progress moving. Tips about how to cope are all welcome. Email: info@eaglesd.com.