Social distance circle

Car enthusiasts took a drive around Big Bear and Baldwin lakes April 4 as a social event while practicing social distancing.

When the drive to get outside and still maintain physical distance is strong, the drive takes over — literally.

A group of Big Bear residents, some classic car enthusiasts, some just with a vehicle, time and the need to find a way to enjoy a beautiful day in their home town, got behind the wheel and started driving.

The call went out and the motorists met in the DIY parking lot in Big Bear Lake. Staying in their vehicles, the group moved out, taking a cruise around the lake. Similar to the cruise taken by participants in the Big Bear Lake Antique Car Club's Fun Run every August, the motorists drove around Big Bear and Baldwin Lakes April 4 as a way to socialize while staying physically distant.

In these uncertain times related to the COVID-19 pandemic, staying connected and social takes many forms while people stay physically distant to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. As of April 3, there are 353 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in San Bernardino County. Five of those cases are in Big Bear Valley, three in the city of Big Bear Lake, two in the unincorporated area of Big Bear City. Thirteen deaths are attributed to COVID-19 in the county.

On April 2, the San Bernardino County public health officer recommended the public wear facial coverings when leaving the house for essential business such as grocery shopping.

Face coverings are also recommended by the Centers for Disease Control. Officials remind everyone that face coverings do not take the place of physical distancing, washing your hands or staying at home.

Governor Gavin Newsom's stay at home order remains in place, with new estimates that the surge in California may not hit until sometime in May. Testing in California lags behind other areas, so the number of positive cases of COVID-19 are expected to rise as more testing takes place. Newsom said today that the need for medical supplies remains high in California, but if the state is in a position to assist other states, it will do so.

During this past week, school districts have been told they won't resume traditional classroom settings this year. Students will continue distance learning for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year.

Big Bear Lake and San Bernardino County increased efforts to prohibit private home rentals in the Valley during the COVID-19 emergency. All lodging facilities in the Valley have ceased operations, and private home rental agencies have stopped bookings and canceled reservations through at least April 30. Pressure on Airbnb has increased to ensure that the agency will cease renting homes in Big Bear during the emergency.

Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District closed all parks and playgrounds in Big Bear to encourage social distancing and prevent gatherings in those areas. All playgrounds and picnic shelters have been blocked off.

The US Forest Service closed all campgrounds and picnic areas in California. Trails remain open on the San Bernardino National Forest. Forest Service officials urge people who are on the trails for exercise, to do so without being in large groups.

The Big Bear Municipal Water District board voted to delay opening the launch ramps and marinas, as well as the surface of the lake until at least May 1.

City of Big Bear Lake administrators agreed that all city-sponsored activities and events are canceled through June 1.

Visit Big Bear's board agreed to split the cost of the July 4 fireworks show in Big Bear with the city of Big Bear Lake. Depending on when the governor's stay at home order is lifted and the COVID-19 emergency ends, the fireworks show will take place July 4 or possibly sometime between then and the fall.

Stay home, stay safe, and stay connected with Big Bear news and information at www.bigbeargrizzly.net or on the Big Bear Now app or the Grizzly's social media accounts.

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