Update #121
COVID-19 Event
December 8, 2020 - 6 pm
54 New Cases in Big Bear Valley Over Past Week

1100 Individuals Hospitalized in San Bernardino County Due to COVID-19

Southern California ICU Availability Now at 10.1%

City Adjusts Balance Due to Greater Public Health Risks

How the Governor's New Order Applies in Big Bear

City Partnering With Vacation Rental Owners and Managers to Implement New Restrictions

State Assistance to Businesses Available

City Council Meetings Return to ZOOM

City Hall Open for Business Electronically and By Appointment Only

Respect Each Other's Fears and Opinions

PLEASE Take All Steps to Keep Yourself, Your Family, and Your Community SAFE

Next City Testing Event Set for December 15
The City of Big Bear Lake continues to work 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 weekly on Tuesdays, and also as otherwise warranted 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 410 confirmed COVID-19 cases since mid-March. Of this total, there have been 153 cases in the City of Big Bear Lake, 211 cases in Big Bear City, 40 cases in Sugarloaf, and 6 cases in Fawnskin.
The City receives Big Bear Valley-specific information from San Bernardino County contact tracers. According to the latest report, 369 individuals have recovered from COVID-19, and there are currently 41 active cases in the Big Bear Valley. Sadly, there has been 1 confirmed death attributed to COVID-19 in the Big Bear Valley.
There were 54 new cases reported for the Big Bear Valley over the past week. From mid-March through November 3, there was a cumulative total of 185 cases in the Big Bear Valley, and there have been 225 new cases reported in the Big Bear Valley in the last 5 weeks.
With an estimated population of 18,941 people in the Big Bear Valley, and 41 currently active cases, approximately 1 in every 462 residents in our community are currently infected. Since the COVID-19 event began in mid-March, approximately 2.2% of the total population in the Big Bear Valley has contracted COVID-19.
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 1,100 confirmed and suspected COVID-19 patients hospitalized in San Bernardino County. Just five weeks ago, there were 297 individuals hospitalized in our County - a 270% increase. According to the latest data, there are now a total of 225 COVID-19 patients in intensive care, and there were 69 ICU patients just five weeks ago. The continued increase in hospitalizations, both in San Bernardino County and throughout Southern California, continues to be State, County, and City officials' top concern.
The State is currently reporting ICU availability of 10.1% in Southern California, still below the 15% criteria that triggered the Governor's new regional order in San Bernardino County and Big Bear.

The Governor's new order will be in place for at least 3 weeks - at least through December 28. We remain hopeful that ICU availability will increase to a level higher than 15% within the next couple of weeks, and hopefully enable the new restrictions to be lifted shortly after Christmas.
The City's position throughout the COVID-19 event has been that local case numbers and County hospitalization data are the most important data to inform the City's response. For most of the COVID-19 event, Big Bear was fortunate to experience a relatively low incidence of COVID-19, and San Bernardino County hospitals have maintained adequate capacity since the event began in mid-March. That is not the case now, as Big Bear has experienced similar case levels as the rest of California in recent weeks, and the San Bernardino County hospital system is now at risk of being overwhelmed.

As such, the entire Big Bear community should fully comply with all aspects of the Governor's new order in Big Bear. The City expects EVERYONE in our community to be diligent and do your part to help discourage further spread and prevent our County hospital system from being overwhelmed. If everyone in Southern California does their part, it is possible that the new restrictions can be lifted shortly after Christmas. With vaccines set for initial distribution in the next few weeks, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and after a long and painful 2020 we need to begin 2021 on an optimistic and hopeful note!

Throughout the COVID-19 event, the City has purposely and deliberately worked to achieve the right balance among a) keeping our community safe, b) promoting the success of our local businesses
c) maintaining community cohesion in an especially divisive and challenging time, and 
d) enabling our community to eventually emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic poised for future success. This balance has adjusted in a subtle manner from time to time based on the actual COVID-19 experience in Big Bear and San Bernardino County, and has intentionally shifted over the past week - appropriately toward more precautions to keep our community safe and ensure adequate hospital capacity.

The City encourages EVERYONE to comply with the new restrictions - to discourage the spread and to maintain adequate capacity in our County hospitals. The person in need of an ICU bed may ultimately be you, your family member, or a close friend, and it's imperative that our County maintains adequate capacity to treat those in need.
The Governor's new order builds on previous State orders, and it can be difficult to determine exactly how it applies in Big Bear. The City has worked hard throughout the COVID-19 event to explain how the various restrictions apply in OUR community, and the latest restrictions mean the following for Big Bear:

  • interacting with others who are not part of your immediate household is prohibited, unless you are participating in the permitted activities outlined in the Governor's new order (and indicated below), AND you implement appropriate face covering, physical distancing, and personal hygiene practices,

  • individuals are not prohibited from moving around the community, as long as they are traveling to or from or participating in the permitted activities outlined below,

  • outdoor recreational activities are permitted, including skiing, snowboarding, sledding, snow tubing, hiking, running, biking, walking, and visiting the lakeshore and other parks,

  • Big Bear Mountain Resorts and other commercial snow play areas may operate,

  • grocery stores may remain open, but are limited to 35% capacity and must have an employee stationed at the entrance to ensure that entry is limited,

  • all other retail stores may remain open, but are limited to 20% capacity and must have an employee stationed at the entrance to ensure that entry is limited,

  • restaurants may operate for take-out and delivery only,

  • hair, beauty, and nail salons, and other personal care services must close,

  • the bowling alley, other indoor entertainment centers, and bars / nightclubs must close,

  • churches and other places of worship are limited to outdoor or online worship only,

  • the zoo has closed,

  • traditional hotels and lodging facilities may only operate if housing essential workers,

  • vacation rentals may be occupied, but only by members of the same immediate household,

  • second homes may be occupied, but only by members of the same immediate household,

  • any visitors originating from outside California, and not traveling for essential business purposes, must quarantine for 14 days,

  • California residents are advised to limit travel within the State, and within 2 - 3 hours of home, and only with your immediate household.

These new restrictions are effective in Big Bear at least through December 28. Please be responsible, and do your part!
The City has greatly improved its communication with all permitted vacation rental owners and managers, and is working in partnership with these owners and managers to ensure that vacation rental guests adhere to the restrictions outlined in the Governor's new order.

The City is particularly focused on ensuring that guests at vacation rentals originate from the same household, and is pleased with the cooperation from owners and managers thus far. Vacation rental owners and managers have been advised to cancel or modify all reservations for the next 3 weeks to ensure that all guests in a unit originate from the same household, and that only 1 or 2 vehicles are present at all units.

Just last week, the City has tripled its code compliance staff (from one officer to three officers), and City staff will be patrolling all vacation rental units to ensure compliance with the same household requirement. Violators will be evicted from the unit, and City staff and the vacation rental manager evicted the first non-compliant group yesterday.
The State has implemented several new tax relief, debt relief, and business assistance grants in recent days, and Big Bear businesses are encouraged to take advantage of these programs. For a complete listing of all new business assistance programs, please click here .
Due to the escalating COVID-19 threat and the Governor's new orders, all City Council meetings will now be conducted via the ZOOM platform until further notice.

The next regular City Council meeting is scheduled for 6 pm on Monday, December 14, and includes special presentations to outgoing Council Members Bob Jackowski and Bill Jahn, and the swearing-in of new Council Members Alan Lee and Bynette Mote, among other important business.

City Council meetings can be viewed live on Spectrum Cable Channel 182, at the City's website , and via the ZOOM platform. Specific instructions to view and share public comment via ZOOM will be listed on the actual meeting agenda that will be posted here later this week.
City staff have been and continue to work hard to provide essential local government services during the COVID-19 event. In light of evolving circumstances and the new restrictions, City Hall remains open but business may only be conducted with City staff via telephone (909-866-5831), email, video conferencing, or by appointment only.

Please contact the main telephone number (909-866-5831) or the appropriate City department to make arrangements to conduct business. We will do our very best to serve you in a safe, efficient, and helpful manner.
Every aspect of the COVID-19 event has been difficult for EVERYONE! Please be reminded that YOU are not the only person impacted by these challenging times, and EVERYONE is struggling in some way.

With the latest restrictions now in effect, tensions are likely to escalate even more, particularly given the long road we've all travelled together this year and with the holidays approaching. As you think about your own situation, please put yourself in the shoes of others:

  • consider the elderly person or individual with a compromised immune system who is truly fearful for their health and safety,

  • consider the struggles of those who have a family member in the hospital or have lost someone they cared about deeply,

  • consider the fatigue of all of those in health care working tirelessly to help others,

  • consider the business owner worried about losing everything he or she has worked their entire life to build,

  • consider the individual dependent on his / her job to feed their family, pay the mortgage or rent, and keep the heat on,

  • consider the mental health impacts of the disease, the restrictions, and the isolation, and how your family and friends may be struggling deep inside without showing it to anyone else,

  • consider those second home owners spending more time in our community, who care deeply about our community and are simply seeking the same things we're all seeking in Big Bear,

  • consider those respectful visitors who are simply seeking to spend time in our community and get through this mess in the same way we're all trying to get through it,

  • consider all of the elected leaders, and Federal, State, and local employees working many long hours to address something no one has ever experienced in any of our lifetimes, and

  • most importantly, BE THANKFUL for what you do have, and your ability to control your own destiny by taking appropriate precautions for your personal situation.

There is light at the end of the tunnel, and despite the new darkness for the next few weeks, that light will get brighter. The light will always overcome the darkness!
Now more than ever, it is ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL for EVERYONE to do everything you can to keep yourself, your family, and your community SAFE!

PLEASE do your part, for all of us:

  • if you are feeling sick, stay at home, isolate yourself from everyone, and get tested as soon as possible,

  • if you are especially vulnerable or fearful of becoming sick, please take appropriate precautions for your circumstances, including staying at home,

  • WEAR A FACE COVERING whenever you are indoors at a local business, and also if you are within 6 feet of others in an outdoor setting,

  • maintain at least 6 feet of distance from others whenever possible, and

  • practice good personal hygiene - wash your hands frequently and use hand sanitizer.

All of these steps are EASY and are simply COMMON-SENSE! There's really no excuse for anyone to not take the precautions indicated above, and your diligence may make the difference for others!
The City and County continue to partner to offer Big Bear testing events, and the next testing event is scheduled for Tuesday, December 15 at City Hall. The appointment portal is expected to be open a few days prior to December 15, and can be accessed by clicking here.

San Bernardino County continues to offer free COVID-19 testing at numerous locations off the mountain, and a complete list of testing sites and dates is available here. The City and the County encourage EVERYONE to get tested, regardless of whether or not you have symptoms, and to get tested REPEATEDLY.

Due to the inability of Abbott Laboratories to deliver COVID-19 test kits and a testing device, as promised in August, the City has terminated its agreement with Bear Mountain Family Medicine Urgent Care for rapid testing. Both the City and Bear Mountain Family Medicine Urgent Care are extremely disappointed in Abbott Laboratories, however, testing availability has expanded significantly in the Big Bear Valley since August. Anyone in need of a COVID-19 test should be able to secure a test at any number of locations, both in the Big Bear Valley and elsewhere. Many private doctors have access to testing, and Bear Valley Community Hospital continues to provide regular testing. Local testing is also available at CVS on Big Bear Boulevard.
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:
  • Visit our website by clicking here

  • "Like" us on Facebook - City of Big Bear Lake
  • Follow us on Twitter - @CityofBBL
  • Follow us on Instagram - @citybigbearlake
  • Sign up for text message alerts by clicking here .
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