Update #21
COVID-19 Emergency
April 3, 2020 - 6 pm
No New Confirmed Cases in City of Big Bear Lake Today, One New Case in Big Bear City Area

Efforts to Set Up Drive-Thru Testing in Big Bear Valley Continue

Hospital, Fire Department Continue Prudent Planning

City Planning for COVID-19 Budget Impacts

City Staff Continue Diligent Enforcement Efforts Regarding Vacation Rentals
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 threats in Big Bear Lake and the City's response to these threats. This email newsletter is the official guidance from the City of Big Bear Lake, and the City appreciates everyone's adherence to the restrictions and recommendations outlined herein.
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!
There are no new confirmed cases in the City of Big Bear Lake today. There remain a total of 3 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the City of Big Bear Lake, but there are now 2 confirmed cases in the Big Bear City area. HIPAA requirements prohibit the release of additional information about the patients or their specific location.

As of 5 pm today, there were a total of 353 confirmed cases in San Bernardino County. A total of 4,003 tests have been administered thus far in the County, and approximately 8.8% of those tested have been positive for COVID-19. Sadly, a total of 13 people have died from COVID-19 in San Bernardino County (thankfully, there are no COVID-19 deaths in the Big Bear Valley.) This data is updated daily at the County's COVID-19 dashboard, and the City encourages everyone to view this site for the most accurate information.
City of Big Bear Lake, Bear Valley Community Hospital, and Big Bear Fire Department officials continue to work with San Bernardino County public health officials to arrange for drive-thru testing at a convenient location in the Big Bear Valley. As testing becomes more widely available, we expect to schedule a local testing event in the near future.

Significant winter weather is forecast for most of next week, and we remain hopeful we can schedule a testing event sometime after next week's winter weather events. In the meantime, if you are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms (cough, fever, fatigue, shortness of breath), please contact your primary medical care provider to discuss your symptoms and determine the appropriate course of action.
Bear Valley Community Hospital and Big Bear Fire Department (emergency medical services provider) continue to plan and prepare for the potential escalation of COVID-19 threats in our community. Both agencies are working hard to assist patients in our community, keep their staffs safe and healthy, and continue preparing for different scenarios.

Fortunately, thus far, patient loads and EMS call volumes have been less than typical for this time of year, and we all remain hopeful that will continue to be the case as our community weathers the COVID-19 emergency. In an effort to be as prepared as possible and to promote patient safety, Bear Valley Community Hospital has relocated patients in its skilled nursing facility from the hospital to an off-site location in an effort to increase capacity at the hospital if eventually needed. Big Bear Fire Department has been working to ensure that adequate PPE is available for local first responders, and is closely coordinating with other Fire and EMS providers on the mountain and throughout San Bernardino County.

We are fortunate to have the excellent service of both of these agencies in our community, and appreciate their efforts and foresight!
City staff continue to evaluate projected budget impacts associated with the COVID-19 emergency, and are taking steps to ensure that the City remains financially healthy and can maintain high service quality levels in the future.

The City's annual General Fund budget is approximately $15 million, and these expenditures are primarily supported by three main revenue sources - property tax (~$4.3 million), sales tax (~$2.4 million), and transient occupancy tax (~ $3.9 million) - that represent approximately $10.6 million, or more than 70% of the General Fund budget. At least for the short-term, property tax revenues are expected to remain relatively stable, however, the City is projecting significant reductions in sales tax and transient occupancy tax revenues for the remainder of FY 19-20 (ends June 30) and for FY 20-21. Additionally, Governor Newsom has provided extensions for the remittance of sales tax, and these extensions will further impact the City's budget.

City staff have already taken action to reduce travel, overtime, and other operating expenses, and have delayed several other expenditures until the COVID-19 budget impacts are fully understood. City officials will also be reviewing the City's organizational structure to identify strategies to reduce costs and provide service more efficiently in the future, and also re-evaluating the use of General Fund reserves to address declining revenues.

City Council will review the recommended budget in May and June, and is expected to adopt the FY 20-21 budget (July 1, 2020 - June 30, 2021) in June.
City staff continue to diligently enforce the temporary ban on lodging facilities and vacation rentals in Big Bear Lake, and will continue to do so. Pursuant to State, County, and City orders, lodging facilities and vacation rentals may only operate for very limited situations (housing critical infrastructure personnel, housing COVID-19 patients), however, second home owners are permitted to use their own property.

City staff are responding to every single complaint received, remain in close contact with local vacation rental management companies and online booking sites, and are engaged in direct communications with all self-managed vacation rental owners. To report a potential violation of this order, please call (909) 866-CODE. Please note that this number is only for violations in the City limits of Big Bear Lake. To report potential violations in Big Bear City or unincorporated areas of San Bernardino County, please call 888-399-8591.
San Bernardino County public health officials are now recommending people use face coverings when leaving home to conduct essential business such as grocery shopping, going to a medical appointment, or visiting a pharmacy to help flatten the curve of COVID-19. The County made the recommendation after reviewing guidance released on April 1 from the California Department of Public Health.

Face coverings may include coverings that secure to the ears or back of the head and encompass the mouth and nose. Homemade cloth ear loop covers, bandannas and handkerchiefs, and neck gaiters may be used to reduce the spread of COVID-19, particularly among asymptomatic people.

"Staying home, practicing social distancing, and frequent hand washing are far more effective ways to combat the spread of COVID-19, and face coverings are not a substitute for continuing those practices", said Acting County Public Health Officer Dr. Erin Gustafson. “Surgical masks and N95 masks should not be used because they must be preserved for healthcare workers and emergency responders,” Gustafson said. “If you do use a face covering, make sure to practice frequent hand washing before and after touching and adjusting the covering.”

Wash cloth face coverings frequently after each use -- at least daily. Place face coverings in a bag until washing them in detergent with hot water and dried on a hot cycle. Discard cloth face coverings that no longer cover the nose and mouth, have stretched out or damaged ties and straps, cannot stay on the face, and have holes or tears in the fabric.
Accountingprose, a small business bookkeeping and payroll service with offices in Phoenix and Denver, has prepared an excellent summary of the various Federal and private sector programs offering assistance to small businesses. To learn more, please click here, and be sure to click on the various tabs at the top of the page, as there are numerous programs available.

Big Bear Chamber of Commerce and the City of Big Bear Lake are happy to assist our local businesses seeking assistance during the COVID-19 crisis. For assistance, please contact Christine Bennett , Senior Administrative Services Analyst, at (909) 866-5831.
The City of Big Bear Lake has implemented various public health recommendations and restrictions for the past several weeks, and continues to do so.

The City encourages everyone to heed the following recommendations:

  • diligently honor the Governor's order to "shelter in place",

  • limit your interactions with others to the maximum extent practical,

  • plan your essential trips out accordingly, and limit the number of trips to the grocery store, drug store, etc.,

  • keep at least 6 feet of distance between you and others you come into contact with,

  • wash your hands ALL THE TIME,

  • use face coverings when you must go out in the community, but consider them as an additional tool to be used in conjunction with other social distancing and hand washing recommendations, and

  • if you need to get outside, take a walk, go for a run, take a bike ride, or go on a hike by yourself or with your family - but stay far way from others!

The following key restrictions remain in effect in Big Bear Lake:
  • everyone in Big Bear Lake is directed to "shelter in place", especially those age 65 and older and those who are especially vulnerable to COVID-19, however, travel is permitted for work and to conduct personal business,

  • grocery stores, drug stores, and other essential retail and service businesses may operate,

  • construction and repair activities may continue,

  • bars, nightclubs, movie theaters, gyms, bowling alleys, ski areas, snow play areas, and other similar businesses may not operate,

  • restaurants are closed for in-restaurant seated dining, however, take-out and delivery services are permitted,

  • lodging and vacation rentals may no longer operate, except for very limited situations,

  • non-essential group gatherings of any size are prohibited, including commercial establishments, churches, community groups, and other formal and informal group activities,

  • isolated, outdoor exercise is permitted, including walking your dog, and

  • City parks and the Alpine Pedal remain open, however, these facilities should be enjoyed by yourself, with your small family group, and users should avoid close contact with others.
City Hall is again providing the full range of City services, and City staff are working hard to manage the City's COVID-19 response AND maintain the high quality of all other City services.

In an effort to promote the safety of our customers and staff, City Hall remains closed to the public for the foreseeable future, however, the City encourages our customers to conduct business with City staff over the telephone or online - or by scheduling an appointment if necessary. If an in-person meeting is necessary, City staff will schedule an appointment with you in City Hall, and in-person meetings will be conducted with effective social distancing measures in a sanitary environment. Please note that customers will be required to wear an effective face covering in order to conduct an in-person meeting with City staff.

To conduct City business over the telephone, or to schedule an in-person appointment, please call (909) 866-5831. To visit the City of Big Bear Lake website, please click here.
Local grocery stores, restaurants, and pharmacies are all working hard to provide food, drugs, and other essential items for the people of Big Bear Lake and the entire valley during the COVID-19 emergency, and they are happy to serve you!

Von's is open to the general public from 9 am - 9 pm each day, and offers "Golden Hours" for senior citizens, pregnant women, and those with disabilities each Monday - Friday from 7 am to 9 am in order to provide a safer shopping environment. Stater Brothers is open daily from 8 am - 9 pm, with early entry for senior citizens at 7 am each day. Both stores have limits on the purchase of certain items.

CVS is open from 9 am – 9 pm daily. Walgreens is also open from 9 am - 9 pm daily, with a special 8 am opening for senior citizens on Tuesdays. Both stores have limits on the purchase of certain items.

There are many great restaurants in Big Bear Lake, and many local restaurants are offering take-out and delivery options. A full list of these restaurants can be viewed here.
The San Bernardino County Department of Public Health operates a COVID-19 Hotline for residents with questions about COVID-19. Please call (909) 387-3911 for assistance.
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 threat - 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