Update #58
COVID-19 Emergency
May 14, 2020 - 5 pm
City Remains Exclusively Under Governor's Restrictions, Awaits Response to Letter and Reopening Plan

Now 7 Cases in Big Bear Lake, 3 in Unincorporated Areas

COVID-19 Hospitalizations, Ventilator Use Continue to Decline

Summary of Governor Newsom's Current Restrictions and Recommendations in Big Bear Lake

County Unveils COVID-Compliant Business Partnership Program - Business Grants Available

All June Special Events Postponed or Cancelled
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!
The City remains exclusively under Governor Newsom's Statewide restrictions, and shares the frustrations of the Big Bear business community. The City continues to explore all possible strategies that will enable the City to reopen businesses sooner than contemplated by the Governor, however, the Governor's legal authority over California cities and counties appears to be clear.

One legal strategy is to seek a local variance for the Big Bear Valley area. Yesterday, the City forwarded a letter to Governor Newsom and our Plan for the Safe, Responsible Reopening of Big Bear Lake, and we are eagerly awaiting the Governor's response. Mayor Rick Herrick's letter outlines the City's compelling case and justified need for local flexibility, and indicates the City's commitment to keep our community safe.

Through the hard work of many, the City has developed a balanced plan, that, if approved by Governor Newsom, would allow ALL businesses to open and relies on responsible behavior by businesses, employees, and patrons to keep our community safe. The City's plan includes 50% initial occupancy limits, adherence to various physical distancing, face covering, and hygiene requirements, and the incorporation of "best practices" by Big Bear businesses. The City's request is in addition to a forthcoming request by San Bernardino County for a formal County variance, which would also be helpful to the City if ultimately granted.
According to San Bernardino County, there are now a total of 10 confirmed cases in the Big Bear Valley, including 7 in the City of Big Bear Lake and 3 in unincorporated areas outside the City limits.

The County reports a total of 3,198 confirmed cases in San Bernardino County. A total of 33,348 tests have been administered thus far in the County, with 9.6% testing positive for COVID-19. Sadly, a total of 139 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 officials continue to closely track the County's data regarding hospital bed and ventilator availability in our County, and we view this data as the most important data for managing the COVID-19 crisis.

According to the County, there are a total of 197 patients hospitalized with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19. The number of patients hospitalized continues to steadily decline, and hit its peak of 451 patients on April 10. The County reports a total of 1,127 "surge capacity" beds (the number of additional beds a hospital could provide if all available space was needed) in the County, and there are approximately 6,000 total hospital beds in the County.

There are a total of 58 patients in intensive care, and 180 intensive care beds are still available. The number of ICU patients also continues to steadily decline, and hit its peak of 124 on April 10. There are a total of 279 ventilators in use in the County, and an additional 560 ventilators still available. It should be noted that of this total, only 48 of the ventilators are being used by confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients. The other 231 ventilators are being utilized by patients with other ailments. The availability of ventilators has remained high throughout the duration of the COVID-19 event.

Bear Valley Community Hospital and Big Bear Fire / EMS officials continue to report generally lower patient and call volumes than typical for this time of year, which remains a good sign for our community. Bear Valley Community Hospital is equipped with 30+ hospital beds and 7 ventilators.

The stated goals for Governor Newsom's response to COVID-19 were to a) slow the spread and b) not overwhelm the health care system, and thankfully, both of these goals appear to have been met in San Bernardino County and in the Big Bear Valley. Although COVID-19 remains a significant public health concern, it appears to be manageable by our local health care system.
With the r ecent rescission of public health orders by San Bernardino County, the City of Big Bear Lake is now relying exclusively on Governor Newsom's orders regarding COVID-19.

The City recognizes that the Governor's orders may be confusing and inconsistent, and we are attempting to communicate the most updated information to the public in a manner that is specific to Big Bear Lake.

These are the most current recommendations and restrictions applicable in Big Bear Lake:

  • Everyone is encouraged to maintain at least 6 ft. of separation from others (or other groups not from your household or family unit) in all interactions.

  • Face coverings are no longer required, but are strongly recommended for all interactions with others.

  • Everyone is encouraged to continue to wash your hands frequently, generously apply hand sanitizer, be highly vigilant and aware of the virus, and act responsibly.

  • Our most vulnerable residents should take additional precautions, and thoughtfully reconsider the need to interact with others. These groups include those over age 65, those with other significant health concerns, and those with compromised immune systems.

  • In accordance with the Governor's orders, "essential" retail businesses are permitted to serve customers in indoor shopping areas or designated outdoor shopping areas, including:

  • grocery stores,
  • convenience stores,
  • drug stores,
  • pet stores,
  • medical supply stores,
  • hardware and building materials supply stores,
  • stores selling electronics, technology, and appliances,
  • auto parts stores, and
  • other stores selling "essential" items.

  • The City interprets the Governor's orders to allow ALL other retail businesses in the City of BIg Bear Lake to operate for curbside pickup only.

  • Many service businesses are permitted to operate, including:

  • auto repair,
  • auto sales,
  • construction and repair services,
  • professional offices,
  • real estate,
  • car washes,
  • pet grooming,
  • landscaping services, and
  • childcare services.

  • Restaurants are still limited to take-out or delivery only. No indoor seating is permitted under the Governor's orders. If patrons order take out, they should not congregate just outside the restaurant to eat, but should instead take the meal home or to another location away from others.

  • Lodging facilities and vacation rentals are not permitted to operate under Governor Newsom's orders. The City remains hopeful that we will again welcome overnight visitors, on a limited basis, in the near future. The City's entire economy is predicated on visitors, and the City contnues to work with local business leaders to welcome visitors back in measured way that keeps our community safe.

  • Entertainment venues are not permitted to operate under the Governor's order. The movie theater, bowling alley, bars, music venues, and other similar operations remain closed. The lake is open for limited boating activities, and the golf course is expected to open late next week.

  • Barber shops, beauty salons, tattoo parlors, and nail salons are not permitted to operate under the Governor's order.

  • Outdoor physical activity, including riding a bike, taking a hike, taking a walk, or enjoying parks is all permitted, but everyone is encouraged to maintain at least 6 ft. separation and is encouraged to wear face coverings when near others. It is permissible for people to walk or bike on the Alpine Pedal Path, visit a City park, fish from the shore of the lake, take a stroll through The Village, walk in your neighborhood, etc. - but please BE RESPONSIBLE!

For further guidance from Governor Newsom, please visit the Governor's Resilience Roadmap. The Governor's website includes specific safety guidelines for each type of business.
Earlier today, San Bernardino County unveiled its COVID--Compliant Business Partnership Program, which offers business grants to small businesses in the County, including Big Bear Lake.

The COVID-Compliant program has two components:

  • funding of $2,500 for eligible small businesses with 1-100 employees, and

  • support and partnership for ALL eligible County businesses who wish to become a COVID- Compliant Business Partner.

This program will support local small businesses by reimbursing and / or offsetting costs and impacts directly related to complying with COVID-19 business protocols, and providing support to all eligible County businesses who apply for the program. Prior to receiving funding, small businesses must demonstrate compliance with public health orders, and incorporate safety and social distancing practices and measures in their business operations. 

The total funding available County-wide through this program is $30 million. Eligible businesses, per qualifying location, can receive up to $2,500. The deadline for applications is August 31, 2020, and Big Bear businesses are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

To learn more, and submit your application, please visit the COVID-Compliant Business Partnership Program website.
Due to continuing uncertainties regarding the Governor's restrictions, and because sufficient time is necessary to effectively plan successful special events, the City is forced to announce that all special events supported by the City and scheduled for the month of June are postponed or cancelled. For details regarding specific events, please contact event organizers directly.

The City remains hopeful that the Governor's restrictions will be loosened, one way or another, in the coming days and weeks. The City continues to work closely with Visit Big Bear and others to plan the annual July 4th fireworks, and we remain optimistic that the show will go on!
San Bernardino County is offering three testing sites in the Victor Valley area this week. These testing sites are powered through a partnership with the California Department of Public Health and OptumServe. OptumServe is the federal government health services business of Optum, a leading health services innovation company.

State testing is conducted at the following locations in the Victor Valley area, and Big Bear Valley residents may schedule an appointment for testing if needed and convenient:

Victor Valley College
18422 Bear Valley Rd., Victorville
May 11 – 16, 7 am to 7 pm – for the general public

Victorville Activities Center
15075 Hesperia Rd., Victorville
May 11 and 12, 7 am to 7 pm – only for healthcare providers, first responders, and law enforcement
May 13 – 29, Monday through Friday, 7 am. to 7 pm – for the general public

Adelanto Stadium
12000 Stadium Way, Adelanto
May 11 - 29, Monday through Friday, 7 am to 7 pm – for the general public

Testing will be by appointment only for any individuals with or without symptoms of COVID-19 . Appointments can be made by visiting https://lhi.care/covidtesting or by calling 1-888-634-1123. Testing is free for all individuals, including those who are uninsured, underinsured, undocumented, or homeless. Individual testing results are confidential.
The City had been hopeful that we would be able to welcome overnight visitors again this weekend, but unfortunately the Governor's orders have not yet been amended to allow lodging facilities and vacation rentals to operate. Managers and owners should continue to block out immediate dates, and should not accept guests until clear guidance authorizing lodging facilities and vacation rentals is provided.

The Governor's orders indicate that lodging facilities and vacation rentals are still not permitted to operate in California, unless housing "essential workers", COVID-19 patients, or homeless individuals. The City continues to work hard to secure approval to implement our own plan, which would allow 50% of all lodging units and vacation rentals to operate, however, we have not yet secured approval for this plan. The City also continues to explore other strategies to enable these facilities to operate, as the City fully recognizes that our entire local economy is predicated on hosting overnight visitors. The City is confident that, with the great cooperation of our lodging facilities and vacation rental managers / owners, we can again host overnight visitors in a safe manner.

We need visitors to ensure the economic success of our community! The City is working on this issue every day, and remains hopeful that our guidance may be changed at any time. We are taking this issue day-by-day, and not providing any guidance with specific dates, in hopes a change will be forthcoming very soon. The City will provide additional guidance as soon as it becomes evident. Lodging facilities and vacation rental managers / owners should continue to block out all dates, and should not welcome overnight guests this weekend.

With Memorial Day weekend just a little more than a week away, the City's efforts are focused on that target date. Additional information will be provided in the City's COVID-19 updates over the next week.
Governor Newsom's orders have been amended to allow outdoor open gallery spaces, and curbside pickup is also permitted by the Governor's orders. Thus, the City interprets these orders to permit garage / yard sales to occur in Big Bear Lake. Residents and property owners planning to conduct a garage / yard sale should contact City Planning staff at 909-866-5831 to register.

Sale organizers and patrons are encouraged to maintain 6 ft. of separation from others at garage / yard sales, should wear face coverings, and should wash hands and/or use hand sanitizer frequently!
The "Great Plates Delivered" program provides adults 65 and older (and adults 60-64 who are at high-risk from COVID-19) with three (3) nutritious meals a day to help keep them safe at home and healthy, and also provides economic assistance to local restaurants .
The Great Plates Delivered program is administered by San Bernardino County . Individuals with questions regarding how the program works and eligibility can find answers here . To enroll in the program, eligible individuals should call (888) 743-1485. Information on the program for Big Bear Lake restaurants interested in participating can be found here . Restaurants interested in participating should submit their interest to mary.bernal@hss.sbcounty.gov
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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