COVID-19 complicates efforts to stay cool during hot weather in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Now that summer is upon us and the temperatures are rising, the coronavirus pandemic is making it more complicated for people to stay cool.

Places that people typically go to escape the heat, like movie theaters, indoor shopping malls and pools, are currently closed.

The City of Philadelphia opens up cooling centers when it activates a Heat Health Emergency. At the moment, those centers are also closed.

"We think putting vulnerable people together in one spot like a cooling center is dangerous for coronavirus," said Philadelphia Health Commissioner Thomas Farley. "So we don't want to do that."

Managing Director Brian Abernathy said there is a task force focusing on how to re-open cooling centers when needed and pointed out that indoor malls, libraries and spray grounds will open soon.

The City of Philadelphia is offering tips to stay cool such as:

  • closing blinds and avoid using the stove or oven.
  • If one does not have air conditioning, it may be cooler outside than inside. If that's the case, head to a park and/or shaded area, stay six feet from others and drink plenty of water.
  • Wear a mask that's easy to breathe in; one that's lightweight and made of cotton
  • Seniors with medical concerns can contact the PCA heat line at 215-765-9040.

"They want to stress those tips of avoiding direct sunlight you know trying to find an air conditioned building or a building with fans," said Kerith Gabriel, Communications Director for the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging. "Wear loose light fitting clothing and of course the big one here is just to stay hydrated. Do not wait until you're thirsty."

Officials recommend checking on loved ones and neighbors who may need help.
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