At a special workshop meeting held at 10 a.m. March 23, the Big Bear Lake City Council ratified action taken several days prior by City Manager Frank Rush in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.
All participating via teleconference from home and one person in the training room at City Hall, the council members voted unanimously to adopt the Emergency Declaration resolution. Rush issued the emergency declaration March 17.
The emergency declaration resolution ratifies the March 17 action and allows for the distribution of information regarding COVID-19 in our community. It also takes action to prohibit price gouging within the city, prohibits evictions, both residential and commercial, and allows for certain response and recovery under the emergency.
Mayor Rick Herrick, who is the first case of COVID-19 confirmed in Big Bear, participated and led the City Council meeting participating from his home. He sounded strong as he presided over the meeting and thanked his colleagues and city staff for the well wishes for his recovery.
Randy Putz, mayor pro tem, was the lone council member at City Hall, as required by the new Brown Act guidelines for holding public meetings via teleconference. He said he is glad to the resolution includes the provision regarding evictions. “I’m afraid how this will impact our community,” Putz said. He said he hopes this provision won’t be necessary, but it does provide some protection.
Rush, in providing an update on the coronavirus in Big Bear, said things had changed significantly since his update on March 20, the most significant being Herrick’s diagnosis. City Hall is closed, with limited city staff working at City Hall, Rush said. Essential staff only are in the office, others are asked to stay home, he said. Public works and the leadership team continue to work, Rush said.
After Herrick revealed his diagnosis, City Hall was thoroughly disinfected, Rush said. Rush added that after the diagnosis was revealed, Rush had a lengthy conversation with the county public health department to determine if any specific actions were required. Self quarantine of city staff was not required, Rush said, but anyone who may have had contact with Herrick should be monitored and actions taken if that person showed any symptoms. Rush said there were a couple of employees with concerns in terms of sniffiles, and they were sent home immediately. Rush said no employee has shown signs of COVID-19.
Rush said all Big Bear Valley governing agencies will be meeting via a conference call March 23 to coordinate efforts across the Valley.