Update #123
COVID-19 Event
December 15, 2020 - 6 pm
Southern California ICU Availability Now at 1.7%

Now 69 Active Cases in Big Bear

San Bernardino County Hospitalizations Reach Highest Level Yet

We ALL Need to Be Diligent - Residents, Businesses, and Visitors!

Current State Orders for Big Bear

City Enforcement to Focus on Activities That Pose Highest COVID-19 Public Safety Risk

City Clarifies Vacation Rental Enforcement Approach

Respect Each Other's Fears and Opinions
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!
The State is currently reporting ICU availability of 1.7% in the Southern California Region, further illustrating the severity of this crisis.

Now more than ever, we need EVERYONE to do your part to be safe, take all appropriate precautions, and help ensure that adequate hospital capacity is available for those in need. It may be you, your family member, your friend, or your neighbor that is in need - perhaps for a COVID-19 case or any other serious illness or injury.
According to the latest data from San Bernardino County, there have now been a cumulative total of 498 confirmed COVID-19 cases since mid-March. Of this total, there have been 175 cases in the City of Big Bear Lake, 270 cases in Big Bear City, 46 cases in Sugarloaf, and 7 cases in Fawnskin.
The City receives Big Bear-specific information from San Bernardino County contact tracers. The most recent report indicates that 429 individuals have recovered, and that there are currently a total of 69 active cases. Sadly, there has been 1 confirmed death attributed to COVID-19 in Big Bear.

Big Bear continues to experience a significant increase in local cases, with 88 new cases over the past week. This is the largest number of new cases in Big Bear in one week since the COVID-19 event began.
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 1,415 confirmed and suspected COVID-19 patients hospitalized in San Bernardino County. This is the highest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations reported since the COVID-19 event began. Just six weeks ago, there were 297 individuals hospitalized in our County - a 376% increase.

According to the latest data, there are now a total of 281 COVID-19 patients in intensive care, and there were 69 ICU patients just six weeks ago. There are currently only 59 intensive care beds available in our County.

The increasing number of hospitalizations in San Bernardino County places additional strain on Bear Valley Community Hospital, and makes it more difficult and delays the transfer of more serious patients from our local hospital to larger hospitals offering a higher level of care. Thus far, Bear Valley Community Hospital has managed this issue effectively, however, it is becoming increasingly difficult.
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 maintained adequate capacity. 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.

The situation is clearly more serious now than at any time in the last 9 months, and it is imperative that EVERYONE be especially diligent in your efforts to keep yourself safe, keep your family safe, and keep your community safe.

We need ALL residents, businesses, and visitors to do everything right!


  • 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,

  • KEEP TO YOUR OWN HOUSEHOLD GROUP, and do not mix with other households,

  • 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.


  • follow all recommended safety protocols and requirements for your industry,

  • require ALL employees and patrons to WEAR A FACE COVERING (there is absolutely no excuse!),

  • establish effective physical distancing procedures in your business, and keep your patrons as separated as possible,

  • make it easy for your employees and patrons to exercise good personal hygiene,

  • recognize that your employees', your patrons', and your community's safety depends on the actions you take to keep people safe,

  • recognize that your future ability to stay open depends on the actions you take to keep people safe, and

  • set the right example for your employees and patrons!


  • if you are feeling sick, stay at home and DO NOT VISIT us now,

  • KEEP TO YOUR OWN HOUSEHOLD GROUP while you are here,

  • 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,

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

  • enjoy the permitted activities in our beautiful community, including skiing, snowboarding, sledding, tubing, hiking, and more, but otherwise limit your interactions with others in our community,

  • order take-out or delivery from one of our terrific local restaurants, and

  • RESPECT our community - do your part to keep us safe!
The State's current orders for the Southern California Region are as follows in 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 regional 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, (see City vacation rental enforcement approach outlined below),

  • vacation rentals may only operate if housing essential workers (see City vacation rental enforcement approach outlined below),

  • 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 in their hotel, lodging facility, or vacation rental.

These new restrictions are effective in Big Bear at least through at least December 28. Please be responsible, and do your part!
Throughout the COVID-19 event, the City's enforcement approach has relied on engagement, education, and cooperation with the business community to ensure safe business practices and promote compliance with applicable State orders. The City's approach has not been punitive, but rather cooperative, and this approach mirrors the approach taken by San Bernardino County and many other communities. Based on observations around the State, we believe this approach is also consistent with the State's approach.

The City recognizes the importance of our business community, and continues to work hard to promote the success of our local businesses during these challenging times. The City will continue a cooperative enforcement approach with all businesses, but expects that cooperation to be reciprocated. Due to the heightened severity of this crisis, the City will now be placing greater emphasis on activities that pose the greatest risk to public safety if appropriate precautions are not implemented.

City staff will be especially focused on preventing and resolving activities that allow the mixing of different households (the primary cause of COVID-19 spread), that exceed capacity limits, that don't implement proper physical distancing, and that don't require face coverings. It is not expecting too much of any business to adhere to these simple, common-sense requirements, and WE NEED YOUR DILIGENT EFFORTS - and your cooperation! Your efforts will make the difference in keeping our community safe and keeping your business open!
As communicated previously, the State recently clarified that vacation rentals may only operate in very limited circumstances in the Southern California Region. 

Over the past few days, the City has reviewed its enforcement strategy for vacation rentals, and will now focus its enforcement efforts to prevent and resolve the activities that pose the highest COVID-19 public safety risk in our community.  As such, the City will focus its enforcement efforts on vacation rental units that are occupied by multiple households and/or are engaged in unsafe, irresponsible, and disrespectful behavior

The City will not take punitive enforcement action against vacation rentals that operate in a safe, responsible, and respectful manner, and that: a) limit occupancy to members of the same household, b) verify compliance with the same household requirement during an in-person check-in process, c) perform cleanings in compliance with recommended COVID-19 cleaning practices, d) do not exceed 2 vehicles at the unit, e) do not host parties or gatherings, and do not generate excessive noise, f) implement contracts that will ensure compliance with these requirements, require the use of face coverings and appropriate physical distancing while out and about in our community, and acknowledge the potential for eviction if these requirements are violated, and g) remit all transient occupancy taxes due in a timely manner. The City will, however, take punitive enforcement action against any vacation rentals that do not adhere to the criteria outlined above.   

The City will take a similar enforcement approach for hotels and other traditional lodging facilities in our community.
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!
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
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  • 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