City Rolls Out Second Phase of Expanded Hours and Service on August 2

Published on July 29, 2021

Two people stand at the Palo Alto Art Center wearing aprons and masks

The City of Palo Alto announced today the second phase of their expanded hours and services, while increasing pandemic-related safety requirements for visitors to City facilities.

“While we monitor the rise in COVID-19 Delta variant cases and continue to implement strong safety protocols, we’re pleased to launch the second phase of expanding City hours and services.” said City Manager Ed Shikada. “We’re doing everything we can, in the face of staff reductions, to balance everchanging safety needs with the community’s desire to return to some semblance of a normal life.”

In response to the latest safety recommendations by County and State health officials—who have reported increasing concern over a rise in the number of COVID-19 Delta variant cases—the City now requires all visitors to City facilities to wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status, and continue maintaining social distancing protocols.

Here are the latest updates to hours and services.

City Hall Services

The City Hall services are now open by appointment from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., for business with administration, code enforcement, public works, transportation services, police records services, utility billing services, and revenue collections. Appointments will help City staff maintain safe social distancing standards.

Planning and Development Services plans to transition from virtual to hybrid appointments (in-person and phone/virtual) starting August 9, Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (in-person) and Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (phone/virtual). Beginning August 2, customers can come inside the Development Center located at 285 Hamilton Avenue to book an in-person appointment for the following week OR book a virtual appointment. Appointments can also be booked online.

To save the public time, reduce carbon emissions, and continue business efficiencies found during the pandemic, City Hall will continue its phone and online services, which were well received during the pandemic restrictions when walkups were not possible. This includes City services such as parking permits and ticketsbuilding permits and planning appointmentsutility bill payments and police reports.

Although the City hoped to enable hybrid public meetings (blend of in-person and virtual) in August, safety concerns prompted the decision to continue the virtual-only meeting format for City Council and City boards and commissions, at least through the month of August. The City hopes to hold hybrid public meetings in September.

Community Services

  • Children’s Theatre
    • The Administrative Office of the theatre is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (with extended hours for the building as needed for classes, rehearsals and performances). 
    • Summer Hot Dog performances run from 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. (gates open at 5:45 p.m.), Wednesday through Sunday, until August 8.
    • To purchase tickets for an upcoming performance, visit the Enjoy! Catalog.

Community Centers

  • Mitchell, Cubberley and Lucie Stern are now open to the public without appointment Tuesday through Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
    • Customer service hours by phone and email are available Mondays and Fridays 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
    • Cubberley Theatre is available for rentals. Find information on rentals.
  • Baylands Golf Links
    • Driving Range Opens at 6:30am.
    • Golf Course Opens at 7 a.m. (Last tee time at 6 p.m.)
    • Baylands Cafe
      • 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.  (Mon - Thurs)
      • 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. (Fri, Sat, & Sun)
    • Book a tee time online.

Junior Museum & Zoo

Palo Alto Art Center

  • The Palo Alto Art Center is now open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with virtual services on Mondays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Visitors can still check out the current exhibition, The Black Index, where the artists featured build upon the tradition of Black self-representation as an antidote to colonialist images. The next exhibition, The Art of Disability Culture, runs Sept. 11 to Dec. 11, 2021, and features artists with disabilities dispelling myths, dissolving barriers and disrupting prejudice.
  • View the Enjoy! Catalog and Palo Alto Art Center class registration.

Parks and Open Spaces

Rinconada Pool


The following libraries are now offering limited in-library access, with no appointments required, at:

  • Mitchell Park Library
    • Tuesdays through Thursdays from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.
    • Fridays & Saturdays, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Children’s Library
    • Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Rinconada Library
    • Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
    • Thursdays, 2 p.m. – 8 p.m.

The online e-library remains open 24/7. Read more about current library services. The Library aims to partially reopen the Downtown and College Terrace branches in late August and expand hours at the Mitchell Park and Rinconada libraries by mid-to-late September. Expanded public hours at all libraries are tentatively planned for October, depending on permanent and temporary staffing hiring. Read more in detail about the library’s reopening plans.

Animal Care

  • Animal Control remains open 7 days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. 24-hour dispatch is available at (650) 329-2413.
  • Pets In Need (Animal Shelter) remains open by appointment only Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit for more information.

Police Department

The Police Department has many reporting options available on the updated website, allowing flexibility in reporting incidents at a time that is convenient for them.  The public’s use of online reporting options allows patrol officers to focus on the immediate needs of the community, remaining available to respond to urgent calls and spending their time investigating crimes with suspect information or patrolling to deter criminal activity.

Please note that online options should not be used to report in-progress or just-occurred crimes, traffic collisions, or emergencies. Instead, call 9-1-1.

Utilities Department

The CPAU continues to focus on customer service by allowing easy access to appointments through the online appointment app. The Customer Service call center and Credit and Collections will be serving the community on a hybrid schedule; one team in the office while one team working remotely on a weekly basis.

We encourage the public to monitor our City Reopening webpage for any new updates on expanded hours and services moving forward.

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