By John Ramos

ANTIOCH (KPIX) – With scorching hot temperatures, Antioch is known for being one of the hottest places in the Bay Area, but during this heat wave, COVID-19 and the bad air quality are making it hard to find opportunities to stay cool in the heat.

The forecast for Antioch Monday? 109 degrees.

“It’s like a sauna in every single room,” said 12-year old Andrea Saulny, “unless you have an air conditioner.”

But not everyone has an air conditioner…or even a home. Anna Story lives in her car so she came to the cooling center set up at the Nick Rodriguez Community Center.

“I had heard about these cooling centers,” she said, “and, you know, I can only walk around the stores so much.”

Surprisingly, at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, Anna was the first person to actually use the facility. Antioch Parks and Rec Director Nancy Kaiser said it might be that people already had somewhere to go for the holiday.

“You know, we might not be as busy as we were earlier in the summer but it’s really important to know that it’s here,” said Kaiser.

The city planned to offer swimming at the Antioch Water Park, on Monday, but the poor air quality was a danger to employees so the pool was shut down. That didn’t leave many options.

Antioch has no beach but it does have a fishing pier. Still, looking at water isn’t the same as being in it. Fisherman Roy Phelps says he’s been tempted to jump in.

“Yeah, I would do it but I don’t want my wife getting all hysterical,” he said.

Back in town, Alma Townsend’s Sno Shack shaved ice stand seemed like a cool place until you realize she works in a metal box with no air conditioning. Still, business was good.

“I watch the weather like a hawk during the summer, of course,” Townsend said. “So, I can gauge about how busy it’s going to be, just by what the weather’s going to be.”

Finally, while most people were looking for a way to escape the heat, Antwaun Collins and his little brother Marshawn were at the park, practicing football and running drills for the time when they are actually allowed to play again.

“We kinda realized that it’s best for us to go outside and play rather than be inside,” said Antwaun. “We can work on our craft and get better day by day. So we’re just out here putting in some work.”

It was commitment personified and a good reminder that coping with adversity is sometimes just a matter of will.

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