After more than two months, the state-ordered shutdown of restaurants, malls, and stores has been lifted in San Bernardino County. The County recently requested an accelerated phase 2 reopening from the California Department of Health, which granted the request because the County has shown that it has flattened the curve and is keeping COVID-19 under control. Restaurants, malls, and stores will be allowed to reopen with safety measures in place.
“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. The County has also developed a Readiness and Reopening Plan that details how the County will reopen through each phase of the State Guidelines.
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 HERE. Gyms, hair and nail salons, barbershops, 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 would 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.