A MESSAGE TO OUR RC COMMUNITY - UPDATE #9 (5/12/20)
For those who like their messages brief, here it is. The State of California’s Phase 1 has ended. Phase 2 of business’ re-opening is beginning. Some stores resumed limited, and different, business models over the weekend. The City of Rancho Cucamonga is part of this trend and more info about our hours, days and scope of operations are continually being updated on our website at CityofRC.us/Coronavirus . We hope to see this trend continue, and possibly even accelerate if the County is successful in being granted additional local control from the State. Things will not return to normal we once knew, but we are turning a corner. Now the long work of economic recovery begins.

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“All we want are the facts, Ma’am.” Sergeant Joe Friday.   
 
Sergeant Joe Friday was the main character in Dragnet, a television law enforcement crime show in the 1950’s. Sergeant Friday became famous for using that phrase quite frequently when he was questioning people. It has since become short-hand for focusing on the core factual issues in any discussion. 
 
So, the focus this week is on the facts. And there are plenty of new facts. The State of California is doing much better than it was with stable hospitalization rates, greater PPE inventory, increased testing capacity and comprehensive public health guidance in place. Similarly, at the San Bernardino County level new infections are slowing, testing is ramping up, and there is plenty of unutilized capacity in the hospital system. Among Southern California counties only Ventura is doing better. At the local level Rancho Cucamonga has the lowest per capita infection rate in the Valley, well under one case for every 1,000 people.  
  
Accordingly, things are beginning to change and some small semblance of the life we used to enjoy is beginning to return. Late last week the state of California moved into early Stage 2 recovery with small retail, manufacturing and logistics businesses allowed to reopen. To view the State’s full Resiliency Roadmap, visit: https://covid19.ca.gov/roadmap/ . The County of San Bernardino sent a letter off to the State seeking local control to determine its own timetable and path to later Stage 2 reopening of businesses and even a transition to Stage 3, which is outlined in the County’s Readiness and Reopening Plan.

On Friday, to facilitate the County’s Readiness and Reopening Plan, the County relaxed its face covering restriction. Face coverings are no longer required – but still strongly recommended – in San Bernardino County as the result of new health order requested by the Board of Supervisors. The new order repeals the April 23 omnibus health order that required face coverings as well as social distancing at essential businesses and banned gatherings and short-term rentals. Although no longer regulated by a county health order, gatherings and short-term rentals are still prohibited and social distancing at essential businesses are still required under the State’s “Stay-at-home” order. 
 
And although there is a bit of hope as businesses slowly come back, we also understand the last couple months have brought many challenges including loss of jobs, transitioning to homeschooling, and missing regular socializing. We have all faced challenges in order to do our part in slowing the curve of COVID-19. These challenges can affect us all in different ways including stress, anxiety, and take a toll on our health. The City’s Healthy RC program has set up a Virtual Mental Health Symposium – Community Conversations on Resiliency on Thursday, May 28th from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. to RSVP visit bit.ly/MentalHealthResiliency. We strongly encourage you to participate in this resource because you should not have to endure these challenging times alone.   
 
As we focus on a return to normal, it is important to remember what is not happening. We are transitioning to a new normal. It will be different than the old normal. The road back will take much longer to traverse than the path which led us to this current place. Mark Twain often used the phrase that there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics. This maxim will be important to remember as we move forward into the fall. Statistics on how well or how poorly the Country is battling the COVID-19 pandemic abound. More data appears every day about the origin of the virus or the efficiency of wearing face coverings. And we have not even begun to see the battle over statistics that claim to represent how well or how poorly the economy is doing or will do in the future. Whether the recovery be a V shape, U shape or L shape are just precursors of the discussions to come on statistics. 
  
As Sergeant Friday said, all we want here in Rancho Cucamonga are the facts. The City is committed to following the facts and where those facts may lead. That is why your City Council last week sent a letter to the Governor seeking approval to move forward with more business re-openings because the fact is that many of our local small businesses are barely hanging on and cannot stay completely shut down for two or three months longer. Similarly, the City has now expanded hours at some of our City facilities, resumed allowing walk-in customers, and reopened many outdoor recreation facilities. But the new normal is not the old normal. The economic impact of losing millions of dollars of sales tax and transient occupancy tax will have longer lasting implications and the City will have restricted services, programs, facilities and operations for an extended period of time, perhaps in excess of a year.   
 
More changes are coming. Businesses will slowly reopen but some businesses will never return. Programs will slowly resume but some programs will never return. Facilities will slowly reopen but some facilities will operate in a new or different capacity. And precautions, like face coverings, hand sanitizer stations, extra cleaning protocols and physical distancing will likely continue to govern public interactions. We have not beaten COVID-19. A cure does not yet exist. But we have tamed the worst of its initial ravages, for now, and we want to build on this preliminary success and lay the cornerstone for a longer term economic recovery in the months and years to come. Stay strong RC, we will get through this together.