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COVID-19 reshapes holidays like Memorial Day, especially in Kern County

Thousand Flags kicks off Memorial Day weekend
Posted at 2:40 PM, May 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-23 19:15:02-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — It’s usually a weekend spent outside, with red white and blue, sunshine and our patriotic heroes.

Acts of appreciation, remembrance and celebration of Memorial Day will look different this year for Kern County, many popular events like Thousand Flags at the Park at River Walk are canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With rising temperatures expected in the next several days, and public pools and spray parks shut down, families are limited on where they can go to beat the heat.

According to the state's website, recreational areas like these will likely reopen as part of phase three of Governor Gavin Newsom’s plan, but it still all depends on our progress as a county.

Kern County Search and Rescue volunteers say they are getting prepared for the usual influx of people looking to flock to the Kern River this holiday.

“Unfortunately,I am expecting to be fairly busy this weekend, we are sitting here on a Friday morning and there is already quite a bit of traffic already headed up to the river and the Kern Valley area. The Hart park is also an area we deal with quite frequently and I’m expecting it to be pretty busy this year," said Sgt. Zach Bittle, Kern County Search and Rescue.

Rescue officials say their team is ready to respond at any moment if someone needs help, but they encourage people who want to access the river safely this weekend to contact professional rafting companies.

The county says cooling centers will remain closed until temperatures heat up more.

According to the county, picnic areas and movie theaters are still closed but the Valley Plaza Mall is expected to be back open tomorrow for those who want to walk inside and shop.

The Bakersfield National Cemetery will also be closed this Saturday for a private event.