Update #40
COVID-19 Emergency
April 23, 2020 - 7 pm
Total of 5 Confirmed Cases in Big Bear Lake,
2 in Big Bear City Area

County Orders Now Allow Boating Activities, Golf Course Operations

City Parking Areas Open Again

Lodging Facilities and Vacation Rentals Advised to Continue to Block Out Dates Through May 8

City Adjustments to Restrictions Dependent Upon Action by Governor Newsom and County Public Health Officials

Forms Available for Penalty and Interest Waiver for
TOT and TBID Payments
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!
According to the County's most recent data, there are now a total of 7 confirmed cases in Big Bear Valley, with 5 confirmed in the City of Big Bear Lake and 2 in unincorporated areas outside the City limits.

As of today, the County reports a total of 1,608 confirmed cases in San Bernardino County. A total of 14,885 tests have been administered thus far in the County, with 10.8% testing positive for COVID-19. Sadly, 5 more people passed away from COVID-19 in our county over the past day, and a total of 77 people have now died from COVID-19 in San Bernardino County. The County is now reporting the number of COVID-19 deaths by location of residence, and, thankfullly, there are 0 deaths reported for the Big Bear Valley.

The County provided the results from the Big Bear Lake testing event held on April 16 to the City, and, thankfully, there was only 1 positive test out of 229 specimens processed. Overall, we remain fortunate to enjoy a relatively low incidence of COVID-19 in our community, thanks to the diligent efforts of our residents and businesses over the past several weeks.

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.
San Bernardino County public health officials released an omnibus health order earlier today that recaps the various restrictions in place. Notably, the County specifically recognized the value of recreational activity for our residents, and has clarified that boating activities and golf course activities are now permitted. It is important to note that the County's order permits these activities ONLY with effective social distancing measures.

The Big Bear Municipal Water District (MWD) previously indicated that the lake is tentatively scheduled to open on May 1, and MWD officials continue to evaluate and refine their plans. An updated announcement is expected from MWD next week, and will be included in future City COVID-19 updates. Big Bear Mountain Golf Course had been awaiting clarification regarding golf course operations, and is expected to announce its plans very soon.
City parking areas at Boulder Bay Park, Veterans Park, Rotary Park, and in The Village are now open again. The City closed these parking facilities on April 5, prior to a significant snow event, in order to prevent unauthorized snow play. Now that the snow has melted, and in an effort to make it convenient for our residents to enjoy City parks and facilities, these parking facilities are now open again. Please enjoy these facilities by yourself or with your family group only, and avoid interacting with others. Public restrooms remain closed at these facilities.

In accordance with Governor Newsom's and San Bernardino County public health orders, the City previously advised lodging facilities and vacation rentals that they could not operate and to block out all dates through at least April 30. With that deadline now a little more than a week away, and no expected adjustments to the Governor's or County orders in the short-term, the City is now advising lodging facilities and vacation rentals to continue to block out all dates and not welcome any guests through at least May 8. This date may be extended further depending on continually evolving circumstances, and lodging facilities and vacation rental managers / owners should advise scheduled guests accordingly.

The City continues to monitor the COVID-19 issue in Big Bear Lake and San Bernardino County, and continues to monitor any adjustments in the Governor's or County orders. Any termination or adjustment of the Governor's or County orders regarding lodging facilities and vacation rentals, or any additional extension of the May 8 date will be included in future City COVID-19 updates as new information becomes available.
City officials continue to consider and plan for potential adjustments to the COVID-19 restrictions that have been in place for the past several weeks.

It is important to note that the City's eventual adjustments can not occur until Governor Newsom takes action to loosen restrictions, followed by corresponding action by San Bernardino County public health officials. Governor Newsom has been reluctant to make any adjustments at this time, and the City is hopeful that he will eventually determine that certain areas of California (like Big Bear Lake) have been less impacted and are more geographically isolated from the hardest-hit areas. The City remains hopeful that Governor Newsom and San Bernardino County public health officials will soon provide greater flexibility for City officials to make appropriate, responsible decisions for our community. While the impacts of COVID-19 are significant throughout California, the incidence of COVID-19 varies greatly in different areas of the state, and different strategies may be just as effective for different areas.

If the City is ultimately granted more flexibility to adjust the restrictions, the City will thoughtfully consider many different factors:

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

  • actual 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 any adjustments will be gradual and incremental, with a continued priority on public health and safety. The City will be seeking to make adjustments that continue to protect the public, but also allow for increased economic activity and personal freedom. The Big Bear Lake community has acted responsibly in recent weeks, and has been diligent in adhering to the restrictions and recommendations. If and when adjustments are made, it will be critical for the community to be even more diligent to ensure that we continue to move forward in the coming weeks and months without an escalation of the COVID-19 threat.
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 and vacation rental owners 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 will 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 and vacation rentals.

The required forms and instructions are now available, and can be downloaded here. Please note that the required lien agreement must be notarized, and City notaries are available to assist if helpful to you - please simply call 909-866-5831 to make an appointment to come into the office. If you are not located in Big Bear Lake, and need to file remotely, the forms can be emailed to the City prior to the April 30 deadline and you will still qualify for the waiver (but hard copy forms must be mailed to the City after the April 30 email deadline).

The City is very pleased to provide this assistance to our valued lodging facilities and vacation rentals. Please contact City staff at 909-866-5831 if you need help completing the required forms, and we'll be happy to help!

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.
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!
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
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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