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Big Bear, Which Depends On Tourism, Reopens

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Big Bear Lake Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash
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San Bernardino is the latest Southern California county to relax stay-at-home orders. And that’s good news to many in the mountain resort town of Big Bear, hit hard by a loss of tourist dollars.

Big Bear was moving forward with reopening even before the county got word late yesterday that it could move to the next phase. Mayor Rick Herrick says now that the state has given the county approval to enter Phase 2, Big Bear can roll out a reopening plan tailored to the city.

"We’re unusual. We have only nine cases, I happen to be one of them, over the 10 week period. No deaths."

Herrick, who has recovered from COVID-19, says Big Bear’s plan is a little more strict than other parts of the county. And it also applies to the city's many vacation rental properties.

"Every business [will] be allowed to open and operate at 50% percent with a six-foot separation," Herrick explained. Requirements also call for everyone to wear some kind of face covering.

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(Rental properties in the rest of the county are allowed to operate at full capacity.)

The city of Big Bear's website offers this guidance:

The following businesses are not permitted to operate at this time under the Governor's Resilience Roadmap: traditional lodging facilities, the movie theater, the bowling alley, the convention center, bars, music venues, church services, barber shops, beauty salons, tattoo parlors, and nail salons — until such time that the Governor authorizes a progression to Stages 3 and 4 of the Governor's Resilience Roadmap.

San Bernardino has dedicated $30 million to help businesses implement COVID-19 safety measures. Small businesses with up to 100 employees can apply for $2,500 grants.

Here's a look at cases in the county so far. You can explore other counties, states, and the U.S. on the whole at COVID-19 Case Mapper.

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