Because San Bernardino County has flattened the COVID-19 curve and secured the resources needed to continue keeping the novel coronavirus under control, dine-in restaurants, stores and malls can now reopen with safety measures throughout the county after a state-ordered shutdown that lasted more than two months.
“San Bernardino County businesses and residents worked very hard and made tremendous sacrifices to make this moment possible,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman. “Your efforts to keep our community safe and healthy have paid off. We can now proceed significantly further toward resuming our normal lives.”
“This virus is still very present throughout our county, state and nation, so we must remain vigilant by physical distancing, wearing face coverings, and washing our hands often. But our goal of minimizing illness and building the capacity to protect the vulnerable, serve the sick, and track the virus in our communities has been achieved,” Hagman said.
“We owe a debt of gratitude to our public health and healthcare professionals, who are putting in long hours on the front lines of this battle, and to our County Government team for working around the clock in support of those efforts,” he said.
The California Department of Public Health on Saturday, May 23, approved the county’s request to reopen more businesses as part of the governor’s accelerated phase two. The county submitted a revised request to move into the next phase on Friday, May 22 based on the new criteria announced by the state on Monday, May 18.
As part of the accelerated Stage 2 phase of the state recovery plan, destination retail stores, including shopping malls and swap meets, and dine-in restaurants can now reopen in San Bernardino County. Businesses that plan to reopen are required to follow state guidance detailed at https://covid19.ca.gov/industry-guidance/. Gyms, hair and nail salons, barber shops, movie theaters, sports and entertainment venues, libraries, bars and wineries, hotels and motels, and public swimming facilities won’t be authorized to reopen until stages 3 and 4.
Drive-in and virtual worship services and faith-based counseling services are authorized to proceed, and the governor said additional guidance for religious services will be announced on Monday, May 25.
The governor on Monday announced new benchmarks counties had to achieve to accelerate business reopening. The announcement came shortly after San Bernardino County sent the governor two letters seeking flexibility in charting a course for recovery. One letter was signed by the Board of Supervisors and the mayors of the county’s 24 cities and towns, the other was a joint letter from the counties of San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange and San Diego, which combined account for about a third of the state’s population.
“Our efforts clearly made a difference,” Hagman said. “Our goal now, besides achieving additional openings, is to keep our businesses open by continuing to keep our curve flat by taking precautions and avoiding unnecessary risk.”
The county is helping small businesses operate safely and stay open through the COVID-Compliant Business Partnership Program. By agreeing to enforce physical distancing, require customers and employees to wear face coverings, and practicing prudent hygiene, small businesses can receive up to $2,500 to implement those measures. Businesses can apply through the county’s COVID-19 website, http://sbcovid19.com.