Update #36
COVID-19 Emergency
April 19, 2020 - 5:30 pm
Still 6 Confirmed Cases in Big Bear Valley

Visit Big Bear Releases New Video Encouraging Our Valued Visitors to Return When It's Safe For Our Community

Thank You Big Bear Mountain Resort!

City Planning For Incremental Adjustments to Restrictions

Big Bear Connected Asks You to Make "Joyful Noise"
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!
There are still a total of 6 confirmed cases in Big Bear Valley. At least for now, San Bernardino County is no longer reporting the case numbers for the City of Big Bear Lake and the unincorporated areas in the Big Bear Valley, and now simply lists our entire area as "Big Bear City". City officials are working with the County to have them again split out the number of cases in the City limits and the unincorporated areas in the Big Bear Valley, and we are hopeful they will update the data soon.

As of 11 am today, there were a total of 1,286 confirmed cases in San Bernardino County. A total of 12,931 tests have been administered thus far in the County, and approximately 9.9% of those tested have been positive for COVID-19. Sadly, a total of 57 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.
Visit Big Bear (and the entire lodging and vacation rental industry) is a critical partner for the City, and has worked closely with the City in recent weeks to help keep our community safe. The City greatly appreciates their cooperation, and will continue to work closely with them as we prepare to gradually welcome visitors back - at the appropriate time, when it's safe to do so.

Visit Big Bear recently released an excellent new video to communicate this message to our valued visitors, and you can view the video here. You will likely recognize the narrator - our very own Mayor Herrick!
San Bernardino County public health officials conducted a drive-thru COVID-19 testing event in Big Bear Lake on Friday, collecting specimens from 231 individuals from the mountain communities. Test results are expected back early this week, and the City is hopeful that the number of new cases identified will be relatively low.

The City greatly appreciates the County's efforts to conduct this testing event for our residents in the Big Bear Valley, and also wishes to express a special thank you to Big Bear Mountain Resort for allowing the use of the Fox Farm parking lot for the testing event. The site worked perfectly, and enabled the City and County to host this event with only minimal impact on the community.
It has now been more than 5 weeks since initial COVID-19 restrictions were implemented by Governor Newsom and San Bernardino County, and the City continues to implement these restrictions in Big Bear Lake. These restrictions appear to have reduced the severity of the COVID-19 impacts in California and San Bernardino County relative to other places in the United States, and, thankfully, the Big Bear Valley has experienced only 6 confirmed cases thus far.

There is growing optimism that there will soon be gradual, incremental adjustments to the restrictions in place. City officials have been and are currently planning the most appropriate adjustments for our community, but it is important to note that the City's actions will be heavily dependent on actions by Governor Newsom and San Bernardino County public health officials. The City continues to receive many comments and suggestions from the members of our community, and these comments reflect the full spectrum of concerns. The City is and will be considering ALL of these concerns as decisions are made in the coming weeks.

The City will be considering all of the following, and more, in making its decisions in the coming weeks:

  • forthcoming adjustments to Governor Newsom's executive orders and recommendations,

  • forthcoming adjustments to San Bernardino County public health orders and recommendations,

  • the incidence of COVID-19 in the City and in the Big Bear Valley,

  • the incidence of COVID-19 in other communities in Southern California,

  • the genuine fears of, and threats to, our most vulnerable residents,

  • the somewhat separated geography of Big Bear Lake from other communities in Southern California,

  • the capabilities of our local medical providers and first responders,

  • the availability of food and other supplies in our local grocery stores,

  • the ability to maintain effective social distancing in certain business sectors and certain types of activities,

  • the need for local businesses to resume operations, in a safe manner, in order to survive this crisis,

  • the need to preserve the economic vitality of our community,

  • the need for our residents (your neighbors) to get back to work to support their families, make their mortgage or rent payments, and more, and

  • the City's ability to effectively enforce various restrictions.

It is likely that restrictions will be adjusted gradually and incrementally in the coming weeks, and that certain business activities may resume before others. It is expected that business activities that do resume operations will be required to implement social distancing measures and limit customer interactions and activities. It is expected that the City will allow visitors to return to our community in the coming weeks, provided our visitors respect and adhere to the restrictions in place at that time.

Again, the City continues to thoughtfully consider all of the concerns in our community, and expects to move carefully and cautiously on any adjustments in the coming weeks. In this unprecedented time in our history, everyone is reminded to take a moment, pause from thinking solely about your own fears and concerns, and thoughtfully consider the concerns of others in our community - all of which are understandable in this uncertain time. EVERY SINGLE PERSON in our community is hurting from COVID-19 in some form or fashion, and the City's actions have and will continue to seek the proper balance for our community.

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.
City Council has formally 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 appropriate social distancing strategies 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 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!
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.
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 not 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