Update #33
COVID-19 Emergency
April 16, 2020 - 8 pm
Thankfully, No New Confirmed Cases in Big Bear Valley

City Council Approves Penalty and Interest Waiver for TOT and TBID Payments Due April 30

Online Portal for Drive-Thru Testing Appointments Closed, No Appointment Necessary Between 12 Noon - 2 pm

City Council Approves Partnership With Visit Big Bear for Fireworks

SBA Programs Run Out of Money, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Program May Be Helpful
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. 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 Frank A. Rush, Jr., City Manager, at 909-866-5832 or via email.
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!
Thankfully, there are still only 5 confirmed cases in Big Bear Valley. There remain a total of 3 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the City of Big Bear Lake and 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 1,032 confirmed cases in San Bernardino County. A total of 11,191 tests have been administered thus far in the County, and approximately 9.2% of those tested have been positive for COVID-19. Sadly, a total of 47 people have now died from COVID-19 in San Bernardino County.

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.
In an effort to assist our valued lodging and vacation rental industry that is severely strained during the COVID-19 emergency, City Council has approved a 61-day waiver of penalties and interest for the remittance of transient occupancy tax (TOT) and tourism business improvement district (TBID) payments due on April 30. This action has the practical effect of preserving cash-flow for strained businesses until lodging and vacation rental operations resume in the coming weeks.

TOT and TBID payments are still due on April 30, and those businesses that are willing and able to remit these funds by April 30 should do so in the typical manner. For those experiencing temporary financial difficulty, a penalty and interest waiver may be secured through June 30, 2020 by a) filing the required remittance form by April 30, and b) executing a simple lien agreement (that would not be recorded if payment is ultimately made to the City). The penalty and interest waiver effectively delays the required payment to the City until June 30, 2020 for these businesses.

The City will be sending a link to instructions and forms to all TOT and TBID remitters in the next few days via electronic mail. If a business does not receive this link from the City by the close of business on April 21, please contact the City at 909-866-5831 or 909-866-5832, and we will make arrangements to send the link and forms to you. The link to instructions and forms will also be posted online no later than April 21, and will be included in future City COVID-19 updates.

If circumstances warrant as we approach June 30, City Council may consider extending this deadline. The City remains hopeful, however, that lodging facilities and vacation rentals will resume operations in Big Bear Lake in the coming weeks, and that no extension will ultimately be necessary.

The City is very pleased to provide this assistance to our valued lodging facilities and vacation rentals. It should be noted that other retail and food service businesses in Big Bear Lake are already eligible for delayed remittance of sales tax, and this action extends similar assistance to the lodging and vacation rental industry that only pay TOT and TBID assessments.
The City and San Bernardino County are pleased to host a drive-thru COVID-19 testing event in Big Bear Lake on Friday, April 17. The appointment portal is now closed, however, individuals can be tested without an appointment between 12 noon and 2 pm. For more information, please click here.

Public health officials are equipped to administer up to 650 tests in Big Bear Lake. The testing event will be held at the Big Bear Mountain Resorts parking lot on Fox Farm Road, adjacent to Bear Valley Community Hospital. The testing event will be coordinated so that you don't need to leave your vehicle. In order to promote efficient traffic flow all vehicles will be directed to access the drive-thru test site on Fox Farm Road from Big Bear Boulevard on the day of the testing event.

This testing event is limited to residents of the mountain communities only, and there are several other testing events scheduled for residents in other areas of San Bernardino County in the coming days.

City officials are pleased to offer this convenient testing opportunity to the residents of Big Bear Valley. It is anticipated that additional cases of COVID-19 will be confirmed as a result of testing, and this information will be helpful to those individuals, our healthcare professionals and first responders, and the City as we continue to manage the COVID-19 emergency in our community. It will also be helpful as we continue planning for our eventual, gradual return to normal in the future.
Earlier today, City Council approved a beneficial partnership with Visit Big Bear to fund the City's annual fireworks display later this year. Under the terms of the partnership, the City and Visit Big Bear will share equally (50% / 50%) in the cost of the show. Each party has committed $20,000 for the initial deposit, and will remit an additional $21,000 each after the show occurs.

The City and Visit Big Bear remain hopeful that the fireworks display will occur on July 4, and are considering an appropriate social distancing strategy to enable our community to safely enjoy the fireworks. If, however, it is not safe to produce the show, it will be delayed until later this summer or fall. The City and Visit Big Bear's agreement with the fireworks company allows the City to reschedule the show for any date between July 4 and October 31 without forfeiting the initial deposit. The City and Visit Big Bear are confident that a safe date and strategy can be implemented to enable the show to occur sometime between July 4 and October 31, however, if it is not safe to do so then the show will be cancelled.

The City and Visit Big Bear believe it's important to continue planning the annual fireworks show in order to boost community spirits and also provide a jump-start for the local economy. We are pleased to engage in this partnership, and look forward to working with the Rotary Club of Big Bear to produce an enjoyable, high-quality, and SAFE event for our community.
The City learned earlier today that, unfortunately, funding for the SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program and Paycheck Protection Program have reached their appropriations limits, and no new applications are being accepted. Processing of previously-submitted applications will continue. It is currently uncertain whether the Federal government will provide additional funding for these programs in the future.

As part of the federal  CARES Act , the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program helps unemployed Californians who are business owners, self-employed, independent contractors, have limited work history, and others not usually eligible for regular state UI benefits who are out of business or services are significantly reduced as a direct result of the pandemic.

The provisions of this program may be helpful to Big Bear businesses once the program becomes operational in the coming weeks. The program includes:

  • Up to 39 weeks of benefits, starting with weeks of unemployment beginning February 2, 2020, through the week ending December 31, 2020, depending on when you became directly impacted by the pandemic.

  • An additional $600 to each PUA weekly benefit amount you may be eligible to receive, as part of the separate CARES Act Pandemic Additional Compensation program. Only the weeks of a claim between March 29 and July 31 are eligible for the extra $600 payments.

The California Economic Development Department (EDD) will begin accepting application for this program on Tuesday, April 28. The City's point person for business assistance is Christine Bennett , Senior Administrative Services Analyst, and she may also be able to help. Please contact Christine at (909) 866-5831.
The 2020 Census is now underway, and the City of Big Bear Lake needs your help to make sure all of us in Big Bear Lake are counted!

We're only looking for about 10 minutes of your time, and you can even complete it on your smartphone - it's that easy - all you need to do is click here and complete the short questionnaire. If you are a permanent resident of Big Bear Lake OR if you are a second homeowner in Big Bear Lake who spends more than 6 months and 1 day per year (cumulatively, not consecutively) at your home in Big Bear Lake, PLEASE take the time to complete the questionnaire.

If you don't have your 12-digit Census ID, don't worry - simply click on the button directly below that says "If you don't have a Census ID, click here", and you will be directed to enter your physical address.

If your mailing address is PO Box, that's okay too, and simply enter your physical address in the appropriate box.

An accurate census count makes a huge difference in the amount of Federal and State funding distributed to California, San Bernardino County, and Big Bear Lake, and also determines how much representation we have in Sacramento and Washington, DC! Thank you!
The Big Bear Chamber of Commerce recently announced a new program through the US Chamber of Commerce - the Save Small Business Fund - that will provide assistance to small business owners impacted by COVID-19.

With contributions from corporate and philanthropic partners, the US Chamber Foundation will distribute $5,000 grants to small employers in the United States and its territories. Grant applications will open on April 20. For information on eligibility, grant timeline, and more, please click here.

There are many other resources available to local businesses impacted by COVID-19 and in need of financial assistance. Some of the most helpful sources are listed below.

  • USDA Rural Development also offers programs that may be helpful to Big Bear businesses, and you can learn more about their programs here.

  • The San Bernardino County Economic Development Agency is also an excellent local resource for Big Bear businesses, offering information, webinars, and assistance. To learn more, please click here.

  • The Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development (California Go-Biz) includes information about various programs available to assist small business, including assistance for California businesses that are not eligible for SBA programs. To learn more, please visit their website.

  • 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.
Many individuals in Big Bear Lake and San Bernardino County are suffering financially as a result of the COVID-19 emergency. If you'd like to make a contribution to help others, here are two suggestions to consider:

  • The Big Bear Chamber of Commerce has established a "virtual tip jar" to donate a "tip" to a service industry provider who has lost or been laid off from a job. The program is targeted to service industry employees such as restaurants, bars, hair and nail salons, spa services, dog groomers, and anyone who normally relies on tips. Displaced service employees can sign up for the program by clicking here. If you'd like to leave a virtual tip for your favorite service industry employee, please click here. 

  • San Bernardino County has established a partnership with Arrowhead United Way, and contributions can be made by clicking here. The San Bernardino (SB) United COVID-19 Relief Fund will support those most at risk and affected by COVID-19. This fund will serve to assist unsheltered residents, low-income individuals, entire families, and those who will face economic hardships due to COVID-19. All funds will remain local and be distributed to the 25 cities that their organization already currently serves. All donations are 100% tax-deductible. 

Thank you for your kindness and generosity!
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,

  • 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,

  • face coverings must be worn when you are interacting with others out in the community,

  • 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,

  • snow play is not permitted, except on your own property,

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

  • City parks (for pedestrian access, no parking available) and the Alpine Pedal Path remain open, however, these facilities should be enjoyed by yourself, with your small family group, and users should avoid close contact with others.
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:
  • 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