Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

Current News

Call Center to Report Public Health Order Violations

[8/5/20] The County of San Diego now has a Healthy Compliance Call Center that the public can call to report violations to the public health order. The line will be staffed around the clock and can be reached at (858) 694-2900.

City Launches SOS Initiative 

[7/16/2020] Use restrictions at city parks have been temporarily relaxed to make outdoor spaces available for houses of worship and fitness-oriented businesses. "Sharing Outdoor Spaces" (SOS) was initiated in response to the state’s action that expanded the list of indoor activities put on hold in order to limit the spread of COVID-19. Learn more about the program and the application process.

City Offers Picnic Tables to Poway Restaurants

[7/8/2020] With indoor dining again suspended in San Diego County due to rising cases of COVID-19, the City of Poway has quickly put into action an idea to help Poway restaurants. The city is purchasing picnic tables to be loaned to Poway restaurants, at no cost, for outdoor dining until indoor operations are allowed again. Once the restrictions are lifted the picnic tables will be moved to local parks. 

Restaurants interested in borrowing city picnic tables should contact Will Wiley, Assistant Director of Public Works, at (858) 668-4705.

Parks and Trails Update

[Posted 6/2/2020; updated 7/27/20]  All parks and trails, including parking lots and trail heads, are now open, though with some restrictions in place to comply with state and county public health orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Please observe the posted protocols for all parks and trails:

  • Do not use city parks/trails if you have a cough or fever.
  • Maintain social distancing at all times. Keep 6 feet from anyone not in your household. 
  • A face covering is needed if you are within 6 feet of anyone not in your household.
  • Use of active sports areas at parks are limited to members of a single household, youth day camps and youth sports camps. Active sports areas at the lake include volleyball courts and softball fields.
  • Playground structures remain closed.

When visiting any of Poway’s parks and trails, please bring plenty of water as drinking fountains are not available for use at this time.

In coordination with our sheriff deputies, city staff will monitor our parks to help ensure our guests are responsibly using our facilities.  

Emergency Loan Program for Small Businesses Approved by Council

[Posted 4/16/20] Learn more here.

Council Moves Forward on Small Business Loan Program, Commercial Eviction Moratorium

[Posted 4/10/20] This week the Poway City Council passed a moratorium on commercial evictions to help those affected by the coronavirus. Councilmembers voted to suspend commercial evictions until May 31. The urgency ordinance went into effect immediately.

The council also directed staff to develop a loan program for small businesses affected by the pandemic. The council-initiated item was brought forward by Mayor Steve Vaus to provide a financial bridge for businesses to survive the current crisis. Named the Poway Emergency Assistance Recovery Loan (PEARL), Council asked staff to present details at the next council meeting April 21.

The council agreed on loan program framework, including:

  • The city would set aside up to $2 million in loans for small businesses in Poway;
  • The maximum amount would be $50,000;
  • Small businesses are defined as having a maximum of 50 employees.

Council discussed additional eligibility criteria, financial information applicants will be required to provide, and interest rates depending upon the amount of the loan and the repayment period.

Resources for Small Businesses, Employees

[Posted 4/1/2020] The City has an updated list of resources available for small businesses and employees impacted by COVID-19 on our "Tools for Business" web page.

Keep Emergency Responders Safe

[Posted 3/23/2020] For your safety and the safety of our emergency responders, when calling 9-1-1 or the Sheriff’s non-emergency line at (858) 565-5200 let dispatchers know if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms or are quarantined. This ensures that our Poway firefighters and Sheriff’s deputies stay safe and healthy, in order to continue to protect our community and prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

What Not to Flush: Help us Protect our Wastewater System

Poway residents are encouraged to adhere to some simple guidelines during the COVID 19 pandemic, and at all times throughout the year, to protect the wastewater collection system from blockages and spills. Please remember the following:

  • The toilet is not a trash can.
  • FLUSH ONLY water, wastewater, and toilet paper down the toilet. 
  • DO NOT place wipes, paper towels, towels, clothing, sanitary napkins, plastic items, rubber items, hair, dental floss, diapers, food or kitty litter in the toilet. 
  • DO NOT pour grease in drains or toilets.

The Public Works-Utilities Department services over 186 miles of sewer collection lines, 12,212 sewer laterals, 4,066 manholes, and 5 sewer lift stations. This includes ongoing maintenance, cleaning, repairs, removing blockages, replacement of laterals, mains, and manholes.

Community Partners and Resources

Neighbors Helping Neighbors

The Poway Neighborhood Emergency Corps is a grassroots volunteer organization focused on helping neighbors prepare for emergencies and communicating between neighbors in times of disasters. The group is using their network of volunteers to help their Poway residents through this unprecedented event. The powaynec.com website has resources such as early shopping hours for seniors and others considered at risk and lists of drive-through/delivery grocery and pharmacy services. Volunteers are mobilizing to bring basic supplies to those in need. Visit their website for more information

Poway Community Library Closes

All SDCL library buildings remain temporarily closed. Door-side service is available for picking up books that have been reserved. Visit the library’s website or social media channels for updates.

EDCO Trash Collection

Waste removal has been identified as a critical and essential service and as such, EDCO will continue regularly scheduled collection operations. As the impact of the COVID-19 situation is changing daily, please refer back to their website for further updates for any operational changes. The Household Hazardous Waste facility is open (Info here).

San Diego Humane Society

San Diego Humane Society is open Tuesday through Sunday by appointment only. Guests can call 619-299-7012 to make an appointment. 

Poway Senior Center

The Poway Senior Center is closed. The senior center operates as an independent nonprofit. Check the senior center website for updated information.

Local Restaurants and Grocery Stores Continue Serving Poway

[Posted 3/24/2020] We’re working to help you continue to Shop Local here in the City of Poway. Download our list of restaurants open for take-out/delivery and local grocery stores. This list will be updated regularly, but please check with individual businesses for changes in operations and hours.

Farmers Market Identified as an Essential Service; Poway Farmers Market is Open with Modifications

The Poway Farmers Market is currently open on Saturdays as it provides an additional food resource for the community. It offers an alternative place to shop and is following local and state guidelines to ensure the safety and well-being of those attending the market and selling at it. The Poway Farmers Market looks forward to being able to provide fresh, healthy food for you and your families in an opened air environment during this time. For the most up to date information, follow the Poway Farmers Market on their Facebook and Instagram social media accounts.

Seniors in Need of Services

Older adults with needs or questions can call the County’s Aging Hotline at 1-800-339-4661 for assistance. Anyone 65 years old or older who has a chronic underlying condition or a compromised immune system should self-quarantine at home.

Free Mental Health Support

The constant changes and updates that come with COVID-19 can be overwhelming. The Access & Crisis Line serves all of San Diego County and is available 24/7 to help individuals in crisis and to offer mental health support. It’s confidential and free of charge. Call 888-724-7240 to speak with someone or visit their website to learn more.

San Diego Worker Assistance Initiative 

United Way San Diego is hosting the San Diego Worker Assistance Initiative as part of the greater San Diego COVID-19 Community Response Fund, to provide flexible resources to individuals impacted by layoffs and reduced working hours implemented by employers. Learn more on their website.

County Launches COVID-19 Text Message Alert System

County residents can receive information about the novel coronavirus via text through the County COVID-19 public information text message alert system. To sign up to receive the messages, text COSD COVID19 to 468-311.

Poway Unified School District

For updates on Poway Unified School District closures, please visit their website.

Important Links

  • coronavirus-sd.com (County of San Diego Public Health updates)
  • 2-1-1 (Resource for information and services)
  • CDC website (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development has compiled timely information for employers, employees and all Californians as it relates to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
  • covid19.ca.gov (state site for updates)
  • sdsheriff.net (San Diego Sheriff’s COVID-19 response info included)
  • labor.ca.gov/coronavirus2019 (Employee resources for unemployed workers)

  • Download the SD Emergency App (Google Play or Apple app stores) for emergency alerts from the County of San Diego on new developments

Past Updates

Accelerated Reopening Includes Hair Salons, Barbershops

[5/26/2020] Today, Governor Newsom announced that counties approved for accelerated reopening, which includes San Diego, can begin to reopen hair salons and barbershops. Guidance for salon reopening can be found here. As with all business reopening in the County of San Diego, salons and barbershops will need to follow social distancing protocols and complete and post the County’s Safe Reopening Plan.  

Business Reopening Resources

The state of California has approved San Diego County to move farther into its Stage 2 reopening, allowing in-person customers at restaurants and retail businesses, with modifications. Businesses need to follow the provided guidance, which includes social distancing measures and restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, as well as complete and post safe reopening plans. Learn more.

For businesses with physical locations that have been closed, the CDC is listing important steps to take before your building/business reopens.

The San Diego County Water Authority provides a fact sheet on plumbing safety with eight steps to reopening a building and how to flush your water system.

Lake Poway to Open May 3: Parks and Trails Update

[Updated 5/4/20]  Lake Poway Recreation Area reopened Sunday, May 3 with restrictions in place to comply with state and county public health orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

On Friday, May 1, the county updated its public health order to relax restrictions on local parks and outdoor recreation. The city worked quickly to prepare the lake’s park and trails for reopening, however not all amenities/areas at are ready for use. Please note the follow limited openings and/or continued temporary closures:

  • Parking is limited per the county’s public health order to limit the number of people using the recreation area. Parking lots can only open to half capacity.
  • Boating is closed.
  • Shoreline fishing is allowed Wednesday through Sunday with the purchase of a permit from the lake’s concession store.
  • The archery range is open.
  • Water fountains are not accessible.
  • Most picnic benches are open, with the exception of the pavilion area.
  • Restrooms at the lake are open, however portable restrooms around the lake are closed.

The mandatory protocols in effect for all city parks apply at Lake Poway as well:

  • Do not enter city parks if you have a cough or fever.
  • Maintain social distancing at all times. Keep 6 feet from anyone not in your household. 
  • A face covering is needed if you are within 6 feet of anyone not in your household.
  • Use of active sports areas are limited to members of a single household. No organized sports. Active sports areas at the lake include volleyball courts and softball fields.
  • Playground structures remain closed.

When visiting Lake Poway or any of Poway’s parks and trails, please bring plenty of water, especially during this warm weather. Drinking fountains are not available for use at this time.

In coordination with our sheriff deputies, city staff will monitor our parks to help ensure our guests are responsibly using our facilities.  

Although parking lots were required to close, the City of Poway was able to keep all neighborhood parks and trails open during the stay at home orders, with the exception of it three areas that were regional draws as they included some of the most popular hiking trails in the county. As of May 1, when county restrictions relaxed, parking lots were able to open at a reduced capacity. The Iron Mountain Wilderness Area and the Blue Sky Ecological Reserve opened for hiking on Saturday, May 2.

Updated County Public Health Orders

[Updated 4/9/2020] The County expanded its Health Order to prohibit gatherings of any type, effective Thursday, April 9. The new directive means that gatherings of 10 people or less are no longer allowed in San Diego County, unless they live in same household. 

“We decided to extend the gathering restrictions because people were getting together in parks, beaches and other open spaces,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “People should stay at home and only go in public when doing essential activities, such as grocery shopping or going to the pharmacy.”

The revised order also expands the requirement for employees of certain businesses to wear face coverings to banks, public transportation and child care providers that serve food.

An update last week mandated the closure of all parking lots at park and recreation facilities. Poway’s neighborhood parks will remain open, but will be limited to walking, hiking and biking. All “active use” areas (such as basketball courts, tennis courts and sports fields) were closed to limit people from congregating. Parking lots at trailheads were closed as well. 

Although the Sheriff’s department has been relying on voluntary compliance to this point, Sheriff Bill Gore stated that compliance with both the county’s public health order and the governor’s executive order will be enforced.

Modified Weekday Bus Schedules Beginning April 13

[Posted 4/8/2020] Starting Monday, April 13, Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) will start a modified weekday schedule, due to significant declines in ridership as a result of the coronavirus. According to MTS, about 70 percent of routes will see a frequency and/or span of service change. In Poway, routes 944 and 945 are unchanged, but route 945A is being suspended.  At this time, MTS reminds riders that only essential trips should be taken on MTS buses and Trolleys (essential workers, groceries, medical, etc.) More info here.

Stay Home. Save Lives. Check In.

[Posted 4/1/2020] The governor has launched the “Stay Home. Save Lives. Check In.” campaign urging Californians to help combat social isolation and food insecurity among those over the age of 65. A statewide hotline (833-544-2374), in coordination with the non-profit local 2-1-1 systems, will give Californians a one-stop shop to answer their questions and get assistance during this crisis.

National Coronavirus Guidelines Extended 

[Posted 4/1/2020] The Coronavirus Guidelines for America (30 Days to Slow the Spread) was extended for an additional 30 days through April 30.  Learn more about the revised CDC guidance (en Español) .

Statewide Moratorium on Residential Evictions for Renters

[Posted 3/30/2020] California issued a statewide moratorium on residential evictions for renters who cannot pay their rent because of COVID-19 related economic hardships. The moratorium went into effect on March 27 and is valid through May 31, 2020. Learn what you should do - this page also has many other resources for people financially affected by COVID-19.

County Continues Public Health Orders

[Posted 3/29/2020] The County of San Diego extended its existing public health order. The order was set to expire on March 31 and has been extended indefinitely. The order mandates the closures of non-essential businesses, including bars, restaurant dining areas, schools, gyms and fitness centers. The County provides a daily update on the number of cases in San Diego County, including a graph by cities. Please know that this information is collected by the County’s Public Health department and no additional information is provided to the City of Poway on cases in our city. View the County’s COVID-19 update page.

Playgrounds Closed

[Posted 3/26/2020] While city parks remain open, playgrounds at the parks are temporarily closed. This is part of the city’s efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community. The state’s stay at home public health order does allow for people to go outside for exercise, a walk or fresh air as you are maintaining a safe social distance of six feet from people who aren’t part of your household. If you are planning to visit a city park, please help reduce the spread of COVID-19: 

  • Think Six for Safety. Social distancing = 6 feet separation between you and others who are not a part of your household.
  • Be Hygienic. Wash your hands, carry hand sanitizer or antibacterial wipes, cover your cough and follow other guidelines by the CDC.
  • Be Considerate. Please stay home if you are sick or know you have been exposed to COVID-19.

Temporary Closures of Hiking, Recreation Destinations

[Posted 3/24/2020] For the safety of our community, the City of Poway will temporarily close the Lake Poway Recreation Area, Blue Sky Ecological Reserve, Iron Mountain Wilderness Area, trailhead to Rattlesnake Canyon, and skate park. 

The city is taking these additional actions because of the large influx of people using these trails and recreation areas. This is to reinforce county and state public health orders for social distancing and limiting non-essential gatherings, which are critical for slowing the spread of COVID-19 in our community. The city will continue to monitor all city parks and amenities for usage and determine additional closures if needed in the best interest of the community.

The new closures listed above include access to hiking trails, parking lots and restrooms. Gates and parking lots will be closed; signage will be placed at all locations. The Sheriff’s Poway Station will assist with education and enforcement.

In response to questions and comments received regarding these temporary closures:

  • The closed trails are ones that have become “destination” trails, with visitors coming in from all over San Diego County. Blue Sky, Lake Poway to Mount Woodson and the Iron Mountain trails consistently are named on any “best places to hike in San Diego” list.
  • Other cities have closed beaches, trails and parks for safety reasons. There is a state public health order to stay at home. It is okay to get out and exercise, but we’re also being instructed to close public spaces that create non-essential gatherings or don’t allow for social distancing.
  • Public health officials are telling people to avoid crowds and situations in which social distancing is not possible. In theory, being out on the trails is the perfect answer. But the reality – witnessed by staff last weekend – is that regional destination trails were more popular than ever. Of the areas closed, most of those trails are narrow and are tough to navigate while maintaining 6 feet of separation when crowded.
  • Some people pointed out that being on a more-crowded-than-usual hiking trail may be safer than going to a grocery store. It’s a point well taken, but the City of Poway does not have jurisdiction over essential business, as outlined by the state’s public health order. We do have jurisdiction over our city parks, trails and recreation areas and have a responsibility to ensure that we do not incur an avoidable risk for the residents of our community. We not only have a responsibility; we have a mandate. The county’s public health order mandates the city to enforce social distancing requirements at parks and that if we are unable to enforce social distancing at a park, it will be closed to the public.
  • And although we’ve closed the regional destination trails, here’s a little context. The combined mileage of all the trails in the Blue Sky Ecological Reserve, Lake Poway Recreation Area and Iron Mountain Wilderness Area equal about one third of the city’s total trails. That leaves close to 50 miles of hiking trails in the City of Poway for residents to enjoy. These mostly encompass neighborhood trails and paths that still allow people to get outdoors and connect with nature. They may not scale to great heights, but they create an opportunity to find a new adventure close to home.

Governor Issues Stay at Home Orders

[Posted 3/20/2020] New public health directives were issued by the governor ordering Californians to stay at home for the preservation of public health and safety. The order provided for essential services to remain open, including gas stations, pharmacies, food providers (grocery stores, farmers markets, food banks, convenience stores, take-out and delivery restaurants), banks and laundromats/laundry services. (Read Stay at Home Except for Essential Needs). The orders also identified critical infrastructure that can remain open. (Read Identifying Critical Infrastructure During COVID-19)

Local Public Health Officer Orders were issued prior to the statewide order.  It includes directives in the local orders that are not addressed by the statewide order. Local officials continue to stress that people can go outside. Poway’s trails and parks remain open, but please be respectful of state and county orders to limit gatherings and maintain social distancing of 6 feet.

City Declares a Local Emergency

[Posted 3/18/2020] 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 authorizes 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.

Fire Chief Jon Canavan also provided an update on the city’s actions to monitor and react in a rapidly changing situation (staff report available here). The city is following guidance from county, state and federal public health officials and has restricted public access to city buildings, temporarily reduced staffing levels while maintaining the delivery of essential services, opened its emergency operations center, instituted a 9-1-1 protocol for first responders, and has been updating constituents via the city’s website and social media channels. 

In response to the change in staffing levels and focus on essential services, City Manager Chris Hazeltine said that while it won’t be business as usual: “We will get back to everyone who contacts us.”

Four Handwashing Stations Available for Public Use

The city received four handwashing stations from the County of San Diego as part of the county’s effort to prevent the spread of COVD-19. Public health officers have emphasized the importance of washing hands to limit the spread of the disease. The handwashing stations will be available at Community Park, Old Poway Park, Poway Community Library and in front of City Hall. 

City Water Supply Remains Safe

Public water supplies in the San Diego region remain safe to drink due to numerous robust treatment processes used by local and regional water providers, including right here in Poway. Despite fears about coronavirus, there’s no evidence that the virus is transmitted through treated water. The U.S. EPA recommends that Americans continue to use and drink tap water as usual. 

Special meeting update:

A special meeting of the City Council is scheduled for Wednesday, March 18 at 8:45 a.m. to ratify the city’s declaration of a local emergency in response to the COVID-19 public health crisis. The council chambers will not be open to the public; remote public participation is strongly encouraged online or by teleconference. An option for public teleconference access will be available at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts. 

Information on how to participate is posted on the agenda. If viewing online or calling in via telephone, it is recommended to log in at least 15 to 30 minutes prior to the start of the meeting.

City of Poway Response

[Posted 3/6/20] The City of Poway Is closely monitoring the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) with San Diego County public health experts. The County of San Diego’s Health and Human Services Agency is working with the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention to monitor and respond to suspected cases in the San Diego County region. 

Poway staff are participating in regular briefings with public health officials and public safety agencies. At this time, residents are encouraged to stay informed and learn what you can do to protect your health, and prevent the spread of the virus. For information visit coronavirus-sd.com or call 2-1-1.

Older adults and people who have severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease seem to be at higher risk for more serious COVID-19 illness. Learn more on the CDC website.