California Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday ordered all Californians to stay at home, and all non-essential businesses to close, to control the spread of the coronavirus pandemic which has so far infected about 1,000 people in the state. Residents may still go out to do grocery shopping, see their doctors, pick up prescriptions, and perform other essential activities. Newsom said he was planning for a “worst case scenario,” in which he estimated more than 25 million Californians could contract the virus in the next two months. Essential businesses that are allowed to stay open are grocery stores, farmers’ markets, pharmacies, banks, gas stations, restaurants with drive-through or take-out, healthcare providers, construction-related businesses, laundromats, and the media. Residents can still leave their homes to walk and exercise, but Newsom urged people to practice social distancing when doing so.
The Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center is a training facility for Marines to learn the how to fight in all conditions. Many residents have contacted Z107.7 with concerns about coronavirus protocols on the Combat Center. Z107.7 reached out to base officials who said, “We are a combat force that must remain ready to defend the nation if called to do so. The training we are conducting has been deemed essential and will continue through this crisis. Our on-base facilities provide the essential services and support to the combat readiness and well-being of our force. While the threat of COVID-19 is serious, we are taking extensive measures to prevent the possible spread of COVID-19 aboard the installation.” On Wednesday, Brigadier General Roger Turner announced that many facilities and activities on the base would be temporarily closed.
Closed facilities on the Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center:
- Sandy Lanes Bowling Center and Snack Bar
- Golf Course Snack Bar
- Wood Hobby Shop
- Sunset Cinema and Snack Bar
- Outdoor Adventures Unit and Recreation Issue
- MCCS Community Center
- Children’s Library Annex
- Indoor Playground
- Excursions Enlisted Club
- Brass & Rockers Bar (Officer & SNCO Club)
Additionally, we will modify the operations of the following activities and food venues:
- Frontline Restaurant and Coyote Grill (Take-out only)
- Auto Skills Center (close self-service/retain full-service maintenance)
- Desert Winds Golf Course (limited to individual rounds/no group events)
- Stables (no new patrons, existing patrons allowed to service)
- Marine Corps Family Team Building (LINKS events postponed)
First responders, such as firefighters/paramedics, are on the front lines in the COVID-19 pandemic, as they are called to help patients who may have been exposed to, or infected by, the coronavirus. Managing editor Tami Roleff explains how the first responders are protecting themselves…
County Fire Battalion Chief Scott Tuttle reassured the Yucca Valley Town Council at its meeting Tuesday that firefighters and paramedics are taking proactive measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and to keep first responders safe and healthy. The first steps are when people call 911.
“You call 911 and you talk to the dispatcher. They’re going to ask them questions. Do you have flu-like symptoms, do you have a fever, travel, been around anyone who’s traveled, if the patient has any high risk factors.”
He said the paramedics will take additional precautions before entering a home.
“We’re going to be coming in looking like some kind of a sci-fi movie. We don’t know at this point who has coronavirus and who doesn’t, so we’re going to have all our personnel in full personal protective equipment, including eye protection, N95 or N100 mask, gloves, latex gloves, and then possibly a Tivex suit or gown.”
While these measures may seem extreme, Tuttle said they have a two-fold effect.
“It reduces the spread of coronavirus and also keeps our first responders healthy.”
The Town of Yucca Valley has closed all its offices to the public through at least April 6. Residents can still conduct business with the Town via telephone, e-mail, and by appointment only. All town-sponsored events, to include senior center events, the Easter egg hunt, Earth Day, enrichment classes, and rentals of town facilities, have been cancelled through April 30.
The City of Twentynine Palms has announced that all activities and sporting events through its Park and Rec Department have been cancelled, to include dance and karate classes, adult co-ed volleyball, Little League, kickball, swim team, youth basketball tournament, junior tennis program, JT55 bike ride, Desert Oasis car show, and the Hilltoppers Motocross races. In addition, Knott’s Sky Park preschool is closed, the Senior Center is closed, and the Fire Department’s Easter egg hunt has been cancelled. Theatre 29 has postponed all productions until the coronavirus pandemic is contained.
The county announced Thursday that almost all county departments are only offering services online and over the phone, closing their public offices until at least April 3. Some of the local services and facilities that are closed include the park and recreation district preschool in Joshua Tree, the Joshua Tree Community Center; and Wonder Valley Community Center.
Services for the following County departments and offices will be available only by phone and online. Offices will be closed to the public:
- Agriculture/Weights & Measures
- Assessor- Recorder-Clerk
- Auditor-Controller/Treasurer/Tax Collector
- Child Support Services
- Children’s Network
- Clerk of the Board of Supervisors
- Community Development and Housing Agency
- County Fire and Fire Marshal
- District Attorney
- Economic Development
- Human Resources
- Inland Counties Emergency Medical Agency (ICEMA)
- Land Use Services, which includes Planning, Building and Safety, and Code Enforcement
- Public Works, with the exception of lobby computer access to surveyor records
- Registrar of Voters, with the exception of election observers by appointment only
- Risk Management
- Special Districts Water and Sanitation
- Transitional Assistance
- Veterans Affairs
- Workforce Development, however, in-person appointments will be conducted only when necessary
The following County attractions and services are closed to the public until at least April 3:
- Big Bear Alpine Zoo at Moonridge
- County branch libraries
- County museums and historical sites
- County Regional Parks, including Calico Ghost Town
- Park and recreation district preschool in Joshua Tree
The following senior and community centers (centers that conduct meal programs will make meals available via drive-thru):
- Big Bear Senior Center
- Bloomington Ayala Senior Center
- Joshua Tree Community Center
- Lucerne Valley Community Center
- Wonder Valley Community Center
San Bernardino County Superintendent Ted Alejandre and superintendents from school districts countywide have collectively decided to extend public school closures through Friday, May 1. Reporter Andrew Dieleman has more on that decision…
The decision to extend public school closures through May 1 is a unified effort among all 33 San Bernardino County school district superintendents to proactively protect the health of staff, school communities, and the estimated 406,000 county students from the spread of coronavirus. Superintendent Tom Baumgarten confirmed that MUSD schools are included in this closure extension and that the district will continue to support students as much as possible with ongoing instruction and nutrition programs. The MUSD Board of Trustees will officially approve the closure extension during its regular meeting on March 24.