Update #43
COVID-19 Emergency
April 26, 2020 - 4:30 pm
Still 7 Cases in Big Bear Valley - 5 in City, 2 in Unincorporated Areas

READ The Proposal HERE -
Council To Begin Discussions on Gradual, Incremental, Thoughtful, and Safe Resumption of Business Activities

COVID-19 Cases Manageable in San Bernardino County, Big Bear Valley Thus Far

Thursday is Deadline for Seeking TOT / TBID Payment Extension

SBA To Resume Paycheck Protection Program Loan Applications on Monday
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 San Bernardino County, there remain 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.

The County reports a total of 1,751 confirmed cases in San Bernardino County. A total of 16,838 tests have been administered thus far in the County, with 10.4% testing positive for COVID-19. Sadly, a total of 82 people have now died from COVID-19 in San Bernardino County. Thankfullly, there are 0 deaths reported for 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 Council will meet again on Monday, April 27, and will receive an update on the status of COVID-19 in Big Bear Lake. Notably, Council will review a proposal for the gradual, incremental, thoughtful, and safe resumption of business activities in Big Bear Lake over the coming weeks. Council will also be asked to appoint a 9-member committee representing broad interests in our community, and this committee would be tasked with reviewing, refining, and improving the proposal, and ultimately making a final recommendation to City Council. The entire proposal is available online for your review.

It is important to note that the proposal can only be implemented by the City if/when Governor Newsom and/or San Bernardino County public health officials adjust the current restrictions and/or provide flexibility to the City of Big Bear Lake. The City remains hopeful that adjustments and/or flexibility are forthcoming in the near future, and this proposal seeks to have our community well-positioned when that flexibility is provided - hopefully sooner rather than later.

Highlights of the proposal include the following:

  • an initial "community opening" phase, targeted for early May, whereby all businesses in Big Bear Lake, with the exception of lodging and vacation rentals, could reopen at 25% occupancy with the use of social distancing, face coverings, hygiene, and disinfection measures,

  • a second "limited overnight visitation" phase, targeted for mid-May, whereby all businesses could expand to 50% occupancy with the use of social distancing, face coverings, hygiene, and disinfection measures, and the occupancy of 50% of the lodging facility units in each establishment and the occupancy of 50% of the vacation rental units managed by professional management companies, and

  • a third "expanded overnight visitation" phase, targeted for early June, whereby all businesses would continue at 50% occupancy (in same manner as second phase), and all lodging facility units and all vacation rentals (professionally and self-managed) would be permitted to be occupied.

The specific timing of the various phases, and any future phases, would be dependent upon a continuing low incidence of COVID-19 in our community, adequate healthcare system capacity, and consistency with Governor and/or County orders, and would be adjusted by the City as warranted by current conditions at that time. It is important to note that adjustments would be possible either way - either the re-imposition of significant restrictions if the incidence of COVID-19 increases significantly, or the earlier loosening of restrictions if the Governor and/or the County allow for lesser restrictions in the future.

It's also important to note that this proposal is the starting point for discussion, and will likely be adjusted by the appointed committee and the City Council. As one could imagine, there are likely a million different ideas and opinions about this issue in our community, and the City is seeking to find the right balance for OUR community. Again, the City seeks a gradual, incremental, thoughtful, and safe resumption of business activities. It's in all our interest to keep our community safe AND start to get back to normal.
City Council will also consider several other important items at the April 27 meeting, including current year budget reductions due to the COVID-19 crisis, a draft General Fund budget for FY 20-21 that reflects significant decreases in City revenues and expenditures due to COVID-19, and a proposed new organizational structure for the City that will result in reduced expenditures. The public is encouraged to view the meeting online at the City's website (click on the green button in the top right corner) or on Spectrum Channel 182 beginning at 6:30 pm. The public can also participate in the meeting via ZOOM or by phoning in, however, please note that the ZOOM meeting room is limited to 300 participants.

Due to technology limitations during the COVID-19 crisis, the best way to ensure your comments are received and read aloud to the City Council is to send an email ( bblcc@citybigbearlake.com ) prior to 4 pm on Monday. The City Clerk will read the comments aloud during discussion of that particular agenda item, and will also read any general comments received. There is also an opportunity to comment using the chat feature on ZOOM or by phone, and every effort will be made to connect you to comment at the appropriate time (subject to technology limitations). Instructions and public comment options are included on the April 27 agenda. The full agenda packet, including all supporting information, is now available for public review.

Although the number of cases and deaths in our county continues to slowly increase, overall, other data reported by San Bernardino County suggests that COVID-19 remains relatively manageable in our area. Fortunately, hospitals in San Bernardino County and Big Bear Lake are functioning normally and have not been overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases.

All of the COVID-19 data is meaningful, but perhaps the most meaningful is hospitalization and ventilator data. As of April 22, there were a total of 350 individuals hospitalized in San Bernardino County with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases, and this number has remained consistent since April 1. To put this in perspective, there are 1,085 "surge capacity" beds (the number of additional beds a hospital could provide if all available space was needed) in the County, and approximately 6,000 total hospital beds in the County. As of April 22, there were a total of 86 of these patients in intensive care, and 167 intensive care beds were still available. As of April 22, there were a total of 300 ventilators in use in the County, and an additional 528 ventilators still available.

Here in the Big Bear Valley, there are currently a total of 7 confirmed cases. At least one of these, Mayor Herrick, has fully recovered (the City does not have specific information about the other 6 confirmed cases). Testing is now readily available for anyone who needs it in the Big Bear Valley, and a recent community testing event on April 16 yielded only 1 confirmed case out of 229 tested. Additionally, Bear Valley Community Hospital and Big Bear Fire / EMS officials continue to report lower patient and call volumes than typical for this time of year, which remains a good sign for our community.

Although the threat posed by COVID-19 remains a significant concern, overall, we appear to be faring relatively well as a community. All of us at the City of Big Bear Lake are working hard to keep it that way, and are also working hard to get us back to normal, hopefully sooner rather than later.
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.
Additiona l Federal funding has been appropriated for Small Business Administration loans, including $320 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program and $60 billion for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Fund. Previous allocations for these programs were depleted last week, and Congress acted swiftly to provide additional funding.

The Small Business Administration will resume accepting Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan applications on Monday, April 27 at 7:30 am Pacific time from approved lenders on behalf of any eligible borrower. SBA is suggesting businesses contact their lenders as soon as possible to submit an application. If your lender is not processing PPP loan applications, the business should contact any of the banks listed on the Orange County / Inland Empire SBA lender list . SBA has not yet announced a date for accepting new Economic Injury Disaster Loan applications.

To learn more, please visit the Orange County / Inland Empire SBA website. The Big Bear Chamber of Commerce is also happy to assist our local businesses. Christine Bennett, Senior Administrative Services Analyst for the City of Big Bear Lake is also happy to help, and she can be reached at (909) 866-5831.
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 less 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.
On Friday, Governor Newsom announced the new “Restaurants Deliver: Home Meals for Seniors” partnership with counties, cities, and tribes. The "Restaurants Deliver" program is aimed at helping older adults and other adults at high risk from COVID-19 to stay home and stay healthy by delivering three nutritious meals a day, while also providing essential economic stimulus to local restaurants and their employees.

Specific details of the program are still forthcoming, however, it is anticipated that State funding will be made available for the purchase of meals from local restaurants for delivery to older adults and other adults in our community. The City is actively monitoring this program and will provide additional details as information becomes available.
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,

  • 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.
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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