OAKLAND, Calif. - Amid a forecast for poor air quality in parts of the Bay Area and a statewide call for power conservation during a predicted heatwave, 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.
The Pt. 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 result of the wildfires of the past two weeks.
And Monterey County officials issued an advisory on Wednesday for Monterey Municipal Beach, where they said elevated levels have been observed. The county statement didn't give a reason, but some additional information is available at www.mtyhd.org/beaches.
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. BART, which now closes at 9 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, also will follow its Sunday schedule on Labor Day.
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 no. 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.
In Concord, where temperatures are expected to top 100 from Saturday through Tuesday and could hit 109 on Sunday, a cooling center will be open from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday through Monday at the Concord Senior Center, 2727 Parkside Circle. Residents should bring a snack and drinking water.
And in Santa Rosa residents can cool off from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday and Monday at the Steele Lane Community Center, 415 Steele Lane. Food and pets will not be permitted.