Update #124
COVID-19 Event
December 22, 2020 - 6 pm

Vaccinations Begin in San Bernardino County

Southern California Adjusted ICU Availability Remains at 0%

Actual ICU Availability in San Bernardino County at 7.6%

Currently 60 Active Cases in Big Bear

More Than 1,700 Individuals Hospitalized With Confirmed or Suspected COVID-19 in San Bernardino County

286 Individuals Tested in Big Bear on December 15

Additional Big Bear Testing Events Scheduled, Will Accommodate More Individuals

City Continues Cooperative Approach With Big Bear Lake Businesses, With Focus on Activities That Pose Highest COVID-19 Public Safety Risk

Vacation Rental Enforcement Approach
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 City of Big Bear Lake wishes everyone a very MERRY CHRISTMAS! Despite the current challenges and hardships, we should all be thankful for the blessings in our lives!

Unfortunately, this Christmas will not be like others, and with COVID-19 cases continuing to increase and hospital capacity severely strained, it is IMPERATIVE that EVERYONE take appropriate health and safety precautions as you celebrate Christmas this year. State and County officials are expecting a further escalation of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations after the holidays, but it doesn't have to be that way ..... and YOU can help to prevent that from happening!

We need EVERYONE be especially diligent in your efforts to keep yourself safe, keep your family safe, and keep your community safe during the holidays!


  • 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!
San Bernardino County has received initial shipments of COVID-19 vaccines, and has begun the process of vaccinating health care workers.

The County has developed a new website with important vaccination information, and the City encourages EVERYONE to get the vaccine once it's made available on a more widespread basis in Big Bear in the future. The City will communicate the availability of vaccines for particular population groups once they become available in Big Bear, and will also pursue the establishment of mass vaccination clinics as necessary and helpful.

The more people we get vaccinated ........ and the sooner, the closer we all are to putting the COVID-19 event behind us! The vaccine will save lives, prevent further illness, allow our businesses to operate at higher capacities, and ultimately get us all back to normal sooner than later!
The State continues to report "adjusted" ICU availability of 0% in the Southern California Region, and these adjusted numbers have been at 0% since December 16.
The State applies an adjustment factor to the actual ICU availability in each region that is a function of the percentage of ICU patients receiving care for COVID-19 compared to ICU patients receiving care for other ailments. This adjustment factor is applied when more than 30% of ICU patients are receiving care for COVID-19, and has had the effect of pushing the overall "adjusted ICU availability" down to 0% in the Southern California region over the past week.

As of December 21, the actual ICU availability in San Bernardino County hospitals is 7.6%, which means there are still a limited number of staffed adult ICU beds available. As of December 21, the State is reporting a total of 40 adult ICU beds available in San Bernardino County. This is the lowest number available since the COVID-19 event began in March.

Hospital, County, and City officials continue to be concerned about the decreasing capacity in County hospitals. 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 599 confirmed COVID-19 cases since mid-March. Of this total, there have been 208 cases in the City of Big Bear Lake, 326 cases in Big Bear City, 58 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 539 individuals have recovered, and that there are currently a total of 60 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 101 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.

With an estimated population of 18,941 people in the Big Bear Valley, and 60 currently active cases, approximately 1 in every 316 residents in our community are currently infected. Since the COVID-19 event began in mid-March, approximately 3.2% of the total population in the Big Bear Valley has contracted COVID-19.
According to the latest data, there are currently 1,719 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 one week ago, there were 1,415 individuals hospitalized in our County - a 21% increase in one week.

According to the latest data, there are now a total of 331 COVID-19 patients in intensive care, and there were 281 ICU patients just one week ago. There are currently only 40 intensive care beds available in our County.
The most recent County testing event in Big Bear was held at City Hall on December 15. A total of 297 appointments were scheduled, with 197 of those honoring their appointment. An additional 89 walk-ins were tested, resulting in a total of 286 tests conducted. Of these, 36 of these tests came back positive and these results are reflected in the numbers presented above.
The City continues to partner with San Bernardino County, and has scheduled four new testing events at City Hall:

  • Thursday, January 21

  • Thursday, January 28

  • Tuesday, February 9

  • Tuesday, February 23.

Each of these testing events will be expanded to 6 hours, and will operate from 9 am to 3 pm. The expanded testing hours will enable us to conduct approximately 500 tests each day.

Appointments are recommended, and the appointment portal is expected to open a few days prior to each testing event. Information about all County testing sites is available here, and Big Bear appointments can be made at the same website.
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!
The City continues to 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 abide by the following requirements

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, continue aggressive and punitive enforcement action against any vacation rentals that do not adhere to the criteria outlined above, including the EVICTION of guests that violate the same household requirement.  

Thus far, the City has received excellent cooperation from vacation rental managers and owners, and appreciates the continued cooperation of the local vacation rental industry!
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