Cooling center opens at North Division High School amid pandemic concerns

Posted at 5:19 PM, Jul 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-08 08:21:02-04

MILWAUKEE — A new cooling center opened on Tuesday for those looking to get out of the heat on what was the warmest day of 2020 thus far.

Usually a smaller space like a library would work for the Milwaukee Health Department when opening a cooling center but with the pandemic, much more space is was a requirement.

North Division High School opened the doors to its gym for those looking to stay cool.

“It was extremely hot yesterday and I thought it would be nice for them to get out of the house. In a cool and safe environment,” said Adrienne Thomson.

As temperatures rose on Tuesday, Thompson and her daughters were the first to take advantage of a new cooling center in their neighborhood.

“I think it’s better to be in a gym because you have more space to use more social distancing,” Thompson said.

Andrew Rossa with Milwaukee Recreation said a building like North Division High School is ideal.

“The building was designed to hold large groups, so it does provide easy opportunity for social distancing,” Rossa said.

The Milwaukee County Health Department said it is still working to identify more cooling centers and ways to make them safe as more people come in.

“How do they safely physically distance in a center? How do we offer the basics?” said Nick Tomaro with the department.

Joseph Sharp said he’s happy to see the cooling center in his neighborhood. He believes keeping a limit on people inside would be key to safety.

“Put partitions,” Sharp said. “The four feet walks and put them up four feet apart. If you have a building as big as this, you shouldn’t have an issue with that.”

The cooling center will be open until Friday from 1 p.m. until 6 p.m. The department also urges people to safely check on the elderly consistently.

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