Update #101
COVID-19 Emergency
September 3, 2020 - 4:30 pm
Now 11 Active COVID-19 Cases in Big Bear Valley

COVID-19 Hospitalizations Continue to Decrease

Visitors Expected to Be Respectful and Responsible

City Continues to Consider Future Special Events

City Still Awaiting Delivery of COVID-19 Test Kits, Will Begin As Soon as Received
The City of Big Bear Lake is working hard to ensure that the residents, second home owners, investors, businesses, and visitors in our community have the correct information about the status of COVID-19 in Big Bear Lake and the City's response to the COVID-19 event.

This email newsletter is the official guidance from the City of Big Bear Lake, and the City appreciates everyone's adherence to the guidance outlined herein. This email newsletter also serves as the City's official press release regarding the City's COVID-19 response, and press inquiries may be directed to City Manager Frank Rush at 909-866-5832 or via email.
The City issues these COVID-19 updates periodically as significant or new information emerges. To be sure you are receiving the latest and most accurate information, please sign up for this email newsletter by clicking here . PLEASE share this email newsletter with anyone and everyone, as we want to reach as many people as possible with this information. Thank you!
According to the latest data from San Bernardino County, there have now been a cumulative total of 97 confirmed COVID-19 cases since mid-March. Of this total, there have been 49 cases in the City of Big Bear Lake, 35 cases in Big Bear City, 11 cases in Sugarloaf, and 2 cases in Fawnskin.

The City is now receiving Big Bear Valley-specific information from San Bernardino County contact tracers. According to the latest report, 86 of these individuals have recovered from COVID-19, and there are currently 11 active cases in the Big Bear Valley. This equates to approximately 1 active case per 2,000 residents of the Big Bear Valley. Thankfully, there have been no deaths attributed to COVID-19 in the Big Bear Valley.

There have been a total of 6 cases reported in the Big Bear Valley over the past two weeks, which equates to a two-week new case rate of 27 per 100,000 population in the Big Bear Valley. This two-week new case rate remains lower than the State of California as a whole, lower than San Bernardino County, and lower than all Southern California counties, thankfully.
Because any COVID-19 patients from the Big Bear Valley would likely be treated by other, larger hospitals in San Bernardino County, City officials continue to closely monitor hospitalization data in the entire County.

According to the latest data, there are currently 323 confirmed and suspected COVID-19 patients hospitalized in San Bernardino County. This number has decreased steadily in recent weeks, and is now at the lowest level since June 20.

According to the latest data, there are now a total of 101 COVID-19 patients in intensive care, and this number has also decreased steadily in recent weeks. There are now a total of 134 intensive care beds still available in San Bernardino County.

Thankfully, the County's health care system has maintained sufficient capacity throughout the COVID-19 emergency.
The Labor Day weekend is upon us, and we are expecting large crowds in Big Bear Lake over the long, holiday weekend. A heat wave will be impacting Southern California this weekend, and the more comfortable temperatures in Big Bear Lake will only make our community even more appealing to visitors this weekend.

The City welcomes our visitors, as long as they behave in a respectful and responsible manner. Visitors are reminded - and overnight hosts are encouraged to remind our visitors - of the following expectations:

  • ALL visitors should wear face coverings when interacting with others, indoors and outdoors.

  • ALL visitors should dispose of trash in approved containers, or carry it out with you for proper disposal - DO NOT LITTER!

  • ALL visitors should be respectful of others - our residents, second homeowners, and other visitors.

  • VACATION RENTAL VISITORS should respect our residents' expectation to peacefully enjoy their homes.

  • VACATION RENTAL VISITORS should quiet down no later than 10 pm, and should ensure all guest vehicles are parked on the vacation rental property.

Thank you for everyone's cooperation, and enjoy Big Bear - respectfully and responsibly!
With COVID-19 expected to continue to impact us into the fall and winter months, the City continues to work closely with Visit Big Bear and other stakeholders to consider the appropriate scheduling and protective measures for the City's most popular special events.

The City will ultimately make decisions in the coming weeks on Halloween in The Village (normally October 31), Christmas in The Village (with Christmas tree lighting and Santa's arrival, normally the day after Thanksgiving), and the rescheduling of July 4 fireworks. The City's primary concern will be the current status of COVID-19 in our community and our ability to produce the event in a safe manner, perhaps with helpful modifications. The City Council will ultimately make these decisions at the October and/or November regular City Council meetings.
The City and Bear Mountain Family Medicine Urgent Care have entered into a partnership to offer daily COVID-19 testing, at no cost, to residents of the Big Bear Valley. The City had hoped to begin offering testing by September 1, however, the test kits have not yet been delivered. We are expecting delivery any day now, and this testing will begin as soon as possible. Appointments will be scheduled approximately every 15 minutes, and will be administered at the Urgent Care facility at 41949 Big Bear Boulevard. It will not be necessary to have a doctor's order or have symptoms in order to receive a test. Additional details will be announced in a future City COVID-19 update.

The City is again partnering with San Bernardino County to offer another County testing event in Big Bear Lake on Tuesday, September 22 from 10 am - 2 pm at Big Bear Lake City Hall. Appointments will be required, and testing will be provided free of charge to anyone who signs up. Additional details will be provided in a future City COVID-19 update.

The City is pleased to offer convenient COVID-19 testing opportunities in the Big Bear Valley. The quicker a positive COVID-19 case is identified, the quicker the appropriate actions can be taken to keep others safe, and the better data we have available for our community to manage the COVID-19 event here in the Big Bear Valley. Please take advantage of one of these testing options in September!
Governor Newsom has unveiled a new blueprint for loosening restrictions on various business sectors, and barbers and hair salons are now permitted to operate indoors.

Under the Governor's new blueprint, San Bernardino County currently falls under the "purple" tier (Widespread, Tier 1). Under the "purple" tier, restaurants are still limited to outdoor dining only, while gyms, personal care services, movie theaters, and family entertainment venues may only operate outdoors. Based on the Governor's new blueprint, the City expects that these current restrictions will remain in place until late September at the earliest, at which time we are hopeful that the County will be able to move to the "red" tier (Substantial, Tier 2) that would allow for limited indoor business activities.

As noted above, the Big Bear Valley continues to experience a relatively low incidence of COVID-19, and if the Big Bear Valley was its own County we would likely be included in the "red" or "orange" tier (Moderate, Tier 3), which allows for limited indoor business activities. Because San Bernardino County is such a huge County, the City is hopeful that the County will eventually be able to make distinctions among different areas of the County, and will be working toward such a distinction as we approach fall and winter.

In the meantime, we expect current restrictions on business activities in Big Bear Lake to remain in place until at least late September.
The City continues to experience significant prolonged stays by lodging guests, vacation rental guests, and second home owners, and this has resulted in a larger daily population than typically experienced on weekdays and during this time of the year. In addition to the prolonged stays, the City continues to experience significant visitation by "day trippers". The community is accustomed to this level of visitation for relatively short, spaced out periods of time, however, the relatively constant high visitation levels are causing strain in the community.

The City is working hard to better manage these impacts, and has made recent changes to our vacation rental enforcement program to promote responsible behavior by our overnight guests. For the past month, the City has been automatically dispatching Sheriff deputies to all noise and party complaints after 10 pm, and this approach has been helpful. Beginning this week, the City will now also dispatch Sheriff deputies to all noise and party complaints all throughout the day, in an attempt to prevent these issues from persisting later into the night. In addition, the City has also allocated resources for an additional Sheriff deputy to focus on these issues in our residential neighborhoods during evening and night hours. The City is hopeful this approach will approve our effectiveness in managing these impacts in the short-term, and we are also currently conducting a comprehensive review of the entire vacation rental program with an eye toward long-term improvements in the program. City staff are currently working on this initiative, and will present recommendations to City Council this fall.

In order to better address impacts associated with "day trippers", the City is working with Visit Big Bear to deploy additional trash containers, portable toilets, and hand-washing stations at various high traffic locations around the lake, mostly in the Stanfield Cutoff and North Shore areas. These efforts are funded by Visit Big Bear, with continuing staff assistance from the City. Similar efforts were implemented over the July 4 holiday, and the new efforts will be in place for the Labor Day weekend and beyond as helpful. Additionally, City staff participated with Visit Big Bear staff and others in an area-wide litter cleanup event on September 1, and will participate in another event on September 8, in an effort to eliminate trash from our community.
San Bernardino County recently announced the availability of additional COVID-Compliant funding for businesses, and all Big Bear businesses are encouraged to apply.

The County has further modified the program to support small businesses that have incurred expenses moving their operations outdoors. In addition to the original $2,500 provided to participants, the County is now offering an additional $1,200 per business to restaurants and other businesses that have been forced to move outdoors in response to State regulations.

To learn more and apply for additional funding, please click here.
Stay Informed!
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The City of Big Bear Lake strives to keep our residents, property owners, investors, businesses, and visitors well-informed about the City's issues and initiatives - including the COVID-19 event - with an emphasis on information specific to Big Bear Lake and the entire Big Bear Valley.
The easiest way to stay-informed is to sign up for the City's email newsletter and other updates. It's easy to sign up - simply visit the City's website and click on "Text & Email Notifications" in the top center of the homepage. Simply click on the link, enter your name and email address, and you're all set. Signing up will ensure that you receive periodic updates about COVID-19 in Big Bear Lake, the City's new monthly newsletter - Elevation 6752', and other special communications from the City of Big Bear Lake for emergency situations, special events, and more.
In addition to the City's email updates, you can also get the latest information from the City of Big Bear Lake via the following digital platforms:
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Please help us spread the word, and share the City's digital communications platforms with your family, friends, other residents, property owners, frequent visitors, or anyone else who is interested in Big Bear Lake. Thank you!
Frank A. Rush, Jr., City Manager
City of Big Bear Lake
39707 Big Bear Blvd. PO Box 10000, Big Bear Lake, CA 92315
Phone: (909) 866-5831 | Fax: (909) 866-5491