Update #64
COVID-19 Emergency
May 22, 2020 - 5:30 pm
No City COVID-19 Updates This Holiday Weekend, Next New Update on Tuesday

No Change in Confirmed Cases in Big Bear Valley

Hospitalizations and Ventilator Use Peaked on April 10 in San Bernardino County

Big Bear Valley Among the Safest Places To Be

San Bernardino County Submits Variance Request to Governor

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
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!
Unless there are significant developments that warrant immediate notification of the Big Bear Lake community,   the City will not issue COVID-19 updates this Memorial Day weekend. The next City COVID-19 update will be issued on Tuesday, May 26.

Have a safe, enjoyable Memorial Day weekend! Please take time to remember and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms on Monday.
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.

There have only been 3 confirmed cases in the Big Bear Valley in the past month, and no new cases in the past 2 weeks. It is also important to note that many of the 9 confirmed cases have fully recovered, and have resumed normal activities.

The County reports a total of 4,146 confirmed cases in San Bernardino County. A total of 47,909 tests have been administered thus far in the County, with 8.7% testing positive for COVID-19. Sadly, a total of 173 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.
One of the stated reasons for the COVID-19 shutdown was to ensure that State, regional, and local health care systems would not be overwhelmed, and to maintain sufficient capacity to treat COVID-19 patients. Thankfully, the health care systems in both the Big Bear Valley and San Bernardino County have maintained sufficient capacity for the duration of the COVID-19 event.

There are approximately 6,000 hospital beds in San Bernardino County. It is also important to note that the County has specifically identified 1,136 "surge capacity" beds (the number of additional beds a hospital could provide if all available space was needed) in response to the COVID-19 event. The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in our County peaked on April 10, approximately 6 weeks ago, with 451 patients hospitalized. According to the latest County data, there are currently 218 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in San Bernardino County.

According to the latest County data, there are a total of 65 patients in intensive care, and 213 intensive care beds are still available. The number of ICU patients also peaked on April 10, approximately 6 weeks ago, with 124 patients in ICU.

According to the latest County data, COVID-19 patients are currently utilizing 43 ventilators out of the 843 ventilators in our County. There are a total of 211 ventilators currently being utilized by patients with other ailments, and a total of 589 ventilators remain available. Since April 1, there have never been less than 388 ventilators available.

Thankfully, Bear Valley Community Hospital and Big Bear Fire / EMS officials continue to experience manageable patient loads and call volumes. Bear Valley Community Hospital is equipped with more than 30 hospital beds and 7 ventilators. It is important to note that any COVID-19 patients would likely be transferred to larger hospitals in San Bernardino County (perhaps Loma Linda, Arrowhead, or others) where more specialized care is available, thus it is important for the City to monitor overall trends in San Bernardino County.
As noted, the Big Bear Valley has been relatively fortunate, with only 9 confirmed cases and, thankfully, 0 deaths. The low incidence of COVID-19, combined with the relative isolation and unique natural environment of the Big Bear Valley make the Big Bear Valley one of the safest places anyone could be in the midst of the COVID-19 event.

The Big Bear Valley, with approximately 222 square miles and approximately 22,000 residents, is comparable in size to many counties in the United States. Unfortunately, according to Governor Newsom's Resilience Roadmap, the Big Bear Valley continues to fall under Statewide restrictions that, in many cases, are more stringent than many other places all over California. For example, all of the counties listed below have received variances, and are permitted for indoor restaurant dining and indoor retail activities:

San Diego County - 6,341 cases, 241 deaths

Ventura County - 883 cases, 29 deaths

Riverside County - 6,464 cases, 290 deaths

El Dorado County - 67 cases, 0 deaths

Mono County - 34 cases, 1 death

Solano County - 449 cases, 19 deaths

Napa County - 96 cases, 3 deaths

Del Norte County - 20 cases, 0 deaths.

Many more California counties, with a far worse COVID-19 experience than the Big Bear Valley, have also received variances, and are also permitted for indoor restaurant dining and indoor retail activities. According to Governor Newsom's orders, indoor restaurant dining and indoor retail activities are not permitted in the Big Bear Valley.

For many reasons, including the low incidence of COVID-19, the sufficient capacity in local and regional health care systems, the examples cited above, and the fact that Big Bear businesses have essentially been shut down for 10 weeks and are suffering significant economic harm, the City Council decided on May 21 that the City would no longer communicate or enforce the Governor's orders.

San Bernardino County officials were expected to submit a formal variance request to Governor Newsom today, and, if approved, that variance would enable San Bernardino County to move further along in Stage 2 of the Governor' s Resilience Roadmap plan. If approved by the Governor, indoor restaurant dining and indoor retail activities would then be authorized to operate in all areas of San Bernardino County, including Big Bear Lake .

It is important to note that even if San Bernardino County secures a variance, many other businesses in Big Bear Lake would still be prohibited from operating in Big Bear Lake , including traditional lodging facilities, the movie theater, the bowling alley, bars, music venues, church services, barber shops, beauty salons, tattoo parlors, nail salons, and some other businesses - until such time that the Governor authorizes a progression to Stage 3 of the Governor's Resilience Roadmap plan.

“The City applauds the County's efforts to secure a variance to Statewide restrictions. We are looking forward to officially opening our community, without restrictions, in cooperation with the County's efforts. We understand that the County is submitting plans to the Governor today, and our intention is to officially open more businesses as soon as the Governor approves the County’s variance, which could be as soon as this weekend.  We continue to encourage our residents and business owners to continue to observe physical distancing guidelines and wear face coverings whenever they are out in public , as previously outlined in the City's reopening plan", noted Mayor Rick Herrick.
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.
Stay Informed!
Sign up for City of BBL Updates,
Visit Our Other Digital Platforms
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:
  • 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