By RHEA-FRANCES TETLEY
Because of the Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, the San Bernardino County Public Health Officer ordered the immediate cancellation or postponement of gatherings of more than 250 people within the county. Beginning on Thursday, many scheduled activities within the mountain communities planned for the month of March and early April were immediately canceled or postponed by numerous civic and nonprofit groups.
The countywide order applies to, but is not limited to, concerts, conferences and professional, college and school sporting events, and is in line with guidance issued by the California Department of Public Health.
On Sunday, stopping short of a state order, Gov. Gavin Newsom said all California seniors should home isolate themselves and suggested “the immediate shutdown of bars, nightclubs, brew pubs and wineries to help stop the spread of Coronavirus, now considered a global pandemic.”
Later in the day, also on Sunday, March 15, the federal Center for Disease Control (CDC) said gatherings of 50 or more should be canceled for the next eight weeks. “This recommendation is made in an attempt to reduce introduction of the virus into new communities and to slow the spread of infection in communities already affected by the virus,” the CDC said.
Then on Sunday evening, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the closure of bars, nightclubs, entertainment venues and gyms in the city until at least March 31. Restaurants will be allowed to offer takeout, drive-through and delivery, but no inside seating and eating will be permitted within the city limits of Los Angeles.
Mountains Community Hospital issued a statement asking those experiencing cold and flu-like symptoms to first call their primary care physician and those who decide to visit the emergency room with respiratory symptoms to first call their emergency hotline at (909) 436-3113 and share their symptoms, recent travel history and why they believe they have been exposed to COVID-19. They will have an MCH staff member meet them at their vehicle and escort them into the hospital.
Locally, many activities and nonprofit fundraisers have either been canceled or postponed until summer. The weekly senior nutritional luncheon program that occurs at the San Moritz Lodge will be switched to a boxed meal, which will be available for drive-up, pick-up only, beginning Tuesday, March 24, after the kitchen is repaired from the flood that occurred last week. Many of the events at Leisure Shores, such as their monthly potluck luncheon, scheduled for March 19, and movies have been canceled as well. Some of their smaller classes at this time are still on their schedule, but groups of more than 25 seniors are not recommended. It is suggested members call Leisure Shores at (909) 338-5036 to determine if a class is still being held before arriving.
Mountain Meals on Wheels, which delivers meals to home-bound, disabled and elderly persons, will continue to deliver meals to recipients’ front door; however, the conversations they usually have with recipients will be curtailed for everyone’s safety. They are still hopeful of holding their annual spaghetti dinner at the Twin Peaks Senior Center on May 3.
Rim of the World Unified School District also announced a week of closures. After that week, they will reevaluate any future closures. Rim schools are already scheduled to go on spring break on April 2.
SkyPark at Santa’s Village in Skyforest will be closed until at least April 2, which was motivated by the governor’s executive order. Also closing are Bear Mountain and Snow Summit ski areas in Big Bear. Snow Valley Mountain Resort paused public operations on Tuesday but will continue to groom the slopes should the situation change. San Manuel Casino in San Bernardino has closed, as have all of the MGM casinos and hotels in Las Vegas.
The public hearing scheduled for March 16 by Mountain Transit to discuss proposed fare changes and Dial-a-Ride fares, plus route changes for Route 2 and Route 4, has been postponed and will be rescheduled to a later date.
The Lake Arrowhead Communities Chamber of Commerce canceled its March mixer at The Grapevine in Lake Arrowhead Village. The Mountain Cinema Club has canceled its spring season at the Blue Jay Cinema. Refunds will be mailed to members. They plan to hold a fall movie season, announcing the films at a later date.
The Mountains Little League had planned opening day ceremonies on March 21 at Charles Hoffman Elementary School in Running Springs; however, it has been “decided to take the recommendation of Little League International and postpone all Little League activity due to the Coronavirus pandemic until April 6th. All practices and games will be suspended until then.”
The Bowling Beatnicks and Bellbottoms bowl-a-thon sponsored by the Rim of the World Educational Foundation, scheduled for March 22, has been canceled but may be rescheduled.
The Crestline Lioness Club will not be holding their chili cook-off scheduled for March 24 at Leisure Shores. They hope to reschedule later in the summer.
Mountain Skies Astronomical Society has canceled all public events and programs until the virus is controlled. They have canceled the Sky Quest program on the ABCs of Astronomy scheduled for March 28.
The Vietnam Veterans Day luncheon scheduled for March 29 at the Burnt Mill Beach Club has also been canceled, with a hope to reschedule later in the year. “Our Vietnam veterans fall within the older age classifications and many have suppressed immune systems, so we do not want to threaten their health by holding a luncheon at this time to honor them,” said organizers.
Bob Sherman, also known as Cape Cod Bob, has canceled the open mic nights in April at the Lake Arrowhead Community Presbyterian Church.
The annual Duck Derby, which was scheduled for April 11 on the shores of Lake Gregory has been canceled by the Crestline Chamber of Commerce.
Akasha Healing Center has rescheduled their spring reopening from their March date to April 5. They plan to have hula dancers and other demonstrations from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. If the Coronavirus has not ended by then, another rescheduling may occur.
The Rim Ed spring event, “Roundup on the Rim,” has been postponed from May 3 to June 14. It will be held at the Lake Arrowhead Resort ballroom from 1 to 4 p.m. They hope folks will still attend, as all the funds raised support programs at Rim schools.
The Fire Lookout Hosts program training sessions, which were scheduled to begin in early April, have been postponed to June. For exact rescheduled dates, please call (909) 225-1025 after April 4 to become a fire lookout host volunteer.
Stater Bros. has also announced reduced hours of operations, which went into effect on Sunday, March 15. They are temporarily modifying their operating hours to 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. These temporary store hours will be effective until further notice because of the unique circumstances that COVID-19 has created, nationwide. The shortened store hours will enable the store to be thoroughly cleaned each evening to create a healthier shopping experience for all.
Both Jensen’s and Goodwin’s grocery markets did suffer some shortages of some items this last weekend as people rushed out to buy items to self-isolate at home. They intend to maintain store hours and have promised to sanitize their markets each evening and keep the check stands clean. They will not allow sick employees to come to work.
The Rim of the World Recreation and Park District announced Monday that all facility use has been canceled since they must follow the social distancing regulations. All contract classes, senior centers, preschool, track and field programs and facility rentals are canceled until at least the end of March. Its board of directors meeting is canceled; however, the Rimforest district office will remain open Monday through Thursdays.
The three mountain Rotary Clubs have canceled their 4-Way Test speech contests since all school district extracurricular activities have been canceled. Rotary hopes to reschedule.
Expect additional cancellations for more April events, as the federal government is now suggesting an eight-week closure of stores and public gatherings. They continue to announce additional restrictions daily, due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.