Update #63
COVID-19 Emergency
May 21, 2020 - 6 pm
City Will Not Enforce Governor’s Orders, Encourages All Business and Residents to Maintain 6 Feet of Separation, Wear Face Coverings, and Practice Good Hygiene as Outlined in City Plan

Summary of Recommendations Included in City's Plan for the Safe, Responsible Reopening of Big Bear Lake

Downloadable Graphic Available for Posting at Big Bear Businesses

Municipal Water District Adjusts Lake Restrictions

Serology Testing Now Available Through San Bernardino County Public Health Department

City Council to Participate in Memorial Day Event at Veterans Park

Still 9 Confirmed Cases in Big Bear Valley

Hospitalizations, Ventilator Use Remain Constant in San Bernardino County
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!
Governor Newsom has enacted Statewide restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the City of Big Bear Lake has communicated these restrictions to our community since March 13 (now nearly 10 weeks ago). As a result of the community’s diligence in adhering to these restrictions, combined with the isolated geography and unique natural environment of Big Bear Lake, COVID-19 has been and continues to be manageable in the Big Bear Valley.  Thankfully, the incidence of COVID-19 in the Big Bear Valley has remained low for the duration of the COVID-19 event.

The incidence of COVID-19 remains low, sufficient capacity exists within local and regional health care systems, testing is readily available, and contact tracing is underway and will continue. Although COVID-19 continues to pose a threat to our community, the risk appears to be manageable at this time.  As a result of the Governor’s restrictions, the vast majority of local businesses have essentially been closed for the past 10 weeks, resulting in significant and continuing economic and social harm in our community. Tourism-dependent businesses have been especially harmed.

The Governor continues to implement Statewide restrictions in most areas of California, including San Bernardino County and the Big Bear Valley The City has formally requested permission from the Governor to implement its own Plan for the Safe, Responsible Reopening of Big Bear Lake, but has not received a response, unfortunately.  Although the Governor has indicated that more counties may be granted additional authority to relax restrictions, it does not appear that these restrictions will be adjusted in San Bernardino County (for application in Big Bear Lake) in any significant way in the near term. The City Council continues to have serious concerns about the Governor’s approach, and is deeply concerned for the future of Big Bear Lake. The City has no legal responsibility to enforce the Governor’s restrictions, and is hereby referring all Big Bear Lake businesses to the Governor’s Resilience Roadmap. Future inquiries, complaints, and concerns regarding the Governor’s orders should be directed to the Governor’s office and/or the California Department of Public Health, as the City intends to no longer be involved in the communication or enforcement of the Governor’s ordersBusinesses and residents should take responsibility for their own actions, should thoughtfully consider the Governor’s orders and the risks associated with their specific circumstances (including health, legal, financial, and licensing), and act accordingly. Risks of reopening certain businesses contrary to the Governor’s orders might include loss of State licenses applicable to certain businesses, among others.  The most vulnerable members of our community should continue to take special precautions, and limit interactions with others to the maximum extent practical.

With the Memorial Day holiday weekend upon us, and increased visitation expected this summer, the City continues to encourage all of our businesses and residents to exercise physical distancing (maintain 6 feet of separation), wear face coverings, and engage in proper personal hygiene where and when appropriate. Additionally, the City has developed a Plan for the Safe, Responsible Reopening of Big Bear Lake and endorsed “Business Guidelines and Best Practices” developed by community business leaders. In any event, the City expects that all businesses will abide by the health and safety measures set forth in the Plan and the Best Practices whenever they re-open fo r business.

The City continues to await a response from the Governor, and intends to enforce the City’s Plan if / when the Governor grants the City the authority to do so. The City’s Plan represents a safe, fair, and effective strategy tailored to meet the needs of OUR community, and we look forward to implementing that Plan in the future.

The City, with broad input from residents and business leaders, has developed a Plan for the Safe, Responsible Reopening of Big Bear Lake , and has also endorsed “Business Guidelines and Best Practices” developed by community business leaders. While this Plan has not yet been approved by the Governor and is not officially in effect, the City encourages all businesses, if they choose to reopen, to abide by the health and safety measures set forth in the Plan and the Best Practices.

The key general provisions of the City's Plan include the following:

  • all individuals should carry face coverings on their person, for use during all interactions with others,

  • all individuals should maintain at least 6 feet of separation from others,

  • all businesses should implement "Best Practices" to promote the safety of employees, patrons, and our community members,

  • all employees of a business should be provided and utilize appropriate PPE, including face coverings,

  • all businesses should provide staffing at the entrance to effectively maintain proper physical distancing among patrons,

  • all businesses should install hand-washing or hand sanitizing stations at the entrance, or direct patrons to wash their hands in the establishment's restrooms,

  • group gatherings should be limited to no more than 10 individuals,

  • the most vulnerable members of our community should continue to take special precautions, and limit interactions with others to the maximum extent practical, and

  • recommended occupancy limits for any business that chooses to reopen.

The City asks all of our BUSINESSES to be safe, and to invest the necessary time and effort into keeping your patrons, employees, and our community safe. It's up to all of our BUSINESSES to do this right - for your sake, and for our community's sake.

The City asks EVERYONE to act responsibly, take personal responsibility for your own actions, thoughtfully consider how your actions impact others, thoughtfully consider the feelings and concerns of others who may have a different perspective on COVID-19 than you do, and simply CARE about each other.

Thank you for EVERYONE's efforts to keep our community safe!

The City encourages all residents, businesses, and visitors to be safe when out and about in Big Bear, and to exercise the now all-too-familiar precautions at all times. Please do your part to keep yourself, your family, your neighbors, our businesses and their employees, and our visitors safe!

  • Wear face coverings over your nose and your mouth!

  • Maintain 6 feet of separation from others!

  • Wash your hands ALL THE TIME!

  • Avoid touching your face!

  • Cover your cough or sneeze!

  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces!

  • For our especially vulnerable residents and visitors, please stay home whenever possible.

Big Bear businesses are encourage to download the attached flyer and post in multiple visible locations to provide a constant reminder. Please print the graphic, and post it on your front door!

Thank you to EVERYONE for your efforts to keep our community safe as we move forward!

Just in time for the holiday weekend, the Municipal Water District (MWD) Board of Directors (a separate governing body tasked with managing lake operations and activities) met earlier today and approved slightly relaxed restrictions for lake activities.

The following new restrictions are in effect for lake activities:

  • the maximum number of individuals per vessel is increased from 4 to 6,

  • only members of the same household unit are permitted together on a vessel,

  • boat rental operations are now permitted,

  • marina patrons should wear face coverings and maintain 6 ft. of separation from other groups,

  • the west boat ramp remains closed, and

  • the east boat ramp is open, but is limited to 25% capacity in the parking area.

Thank you for your cooperation with these restrictions. Enjoy the lake this weekend, and be safe!
The San Bernardino County Public Health Department is now offering limited serology (antibody) testing for qualifying County residents at San Bernardino County Health Centers. The County operates Health Centers in Hesperia, Ontario, San Bernardino, and Adelanto. Big Bear residents are welcome to visit any of these centers. An appointment is necessary, and may be scheduled by calling (800) 722-4477.

The City continues to work with County public health officials to arrange for more convenient serology testing in the Big Bear Valley, and additional details will be announced as they become available.
Although this year's ceremony will be limited due to COVID-19, the City Council is pleased to participate in the annual Memorial Day ceremony at Veterans Park. This year's event features a static display to honor the men and women of our Armed Forces who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms.

The static display will be in place from 8 am - 12 noon, with assistance from local Big Bear scouts. All 5 members of the City Council (Mayor Rick Herrick, Mayor Pro-Tem Randy Putz, David Caretto, Bill Jahn, and Bob Jackowski) will participate in a wreath laying, along with State Assemblyman Jay Obernolte. The public is invited to pay your respects at any time on Monday, but please maintain at least 6 ft. separation from other groups and wear face coverings.
According to San Bernardino County, there are still a total of 9 confirmed cases in the Big Bear Valley, including 6 in the City of Big Bear Lake and 3 in unincorporated areas outside the City limits.

The County reports a total of 3,984 confirmed cases in San Bernardino County. A total of 46,285 tests have been administered thus far in the County, with 8.6% testing positive for COVID-19. Sadly, a total of 164 people have now died from COVID-19 in San Bernardino County. Thankfullly, there are still 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 event.

According to the County, there are a total of 210 patients hospitalized with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19. The number of patients hospitalized remains very manageable, and is significantly lower than the peak of 451 patients on April 10. The County reports a total of 1,128 "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 75 patients in intensive care, and 206 intensive care beds are still available. The number of ICU patients also remains very manageable, and is significantly lower than the peak of 124 on April 10. There are a total of 262 ventilators in use in the County, and an additional 580 ventilators still available. It should be noted that of this total, only 54 of the ventilators are being used by confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients. The other 208 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 experience manageable patient loads and call volumes, 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. 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 and regional health care systems.
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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 event - 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