Because San Bernardino County has flattened the COVID-19 curve and secured the resources needed to continue keeping the novel coronavirus under control, dine-in restaurants, stores and malls can now reopen with safety measures throughout the county after a state-ordered shutdown that lasted more than two months.
“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. 
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 at Gyms, hair and nail salons, barber shops, 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 will 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,

 Businesses should also heed county and state guidance for a safe and sustainable reopening:
San Bernardino County Readiness and Reopening Plan:
State guidance for dine-in restaurants:
State guidance for shopping centers:
State guidance for retail:


A bicyclist was injured in Yucca Valley Thursday when he rode in front of a truck. According to a Sheriff’s report, the unidentified man attempted to cross Highway 62 at Fox Trail about 10 a.m. and rode his bike directly into the path of a cable truck. There is no designated crosswalk or traffic light at that intersection. The Sheriff’s deputy determined that the victim was at fault for proceeding into the lanes of traffic. The victim was taken to Desert Regional Medical Center with unspecified injuries.


It’s safe to say everyone is feeling the fatiguing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Yesterday we offered some ideas of how to responsibly celebrate Memorial Day during the COVID-19 era of stay-at-home orders. Managing editor Tami Roleff has some more ideas for spending Memorial Day with your quarantined crew…

Have a barbecue at home with members of your household. Relax by the pool if you have one. Break out the poster paints and make a patriotic sign for people passing by. Get outdoors. Break out the bike or hiking boots and spend the day enjoying the Morongo Basin’s natural beauty. Hold a video party with those you normally would spend the holiday with and keep the tradition going. Watch the National Memorial Day Concert on Sunday at 8 p.m. on PBS. The concert will feature performances and tributes filmed from around the country to honor the troops and our veterans.


The first instance of a deadly and highly contagious rabbit disease in California was reported in Riverside County last week. Rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus type 2, or RHD2, killed a wild jackrabbit in Palm Springs, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. While no other rabbit populations in California are known to be affected by the disease, it has spread quickly in other southwestern states and countries. Any unusual or sudden rabbit death should be reported immediately to a veterinarian. Infected rabbits may exhibit no symptoms before suddenly dying, or they may suffer fever, swelling, internal bleeding and liver failure. Do not touch a dead rabbit as the virus that causes the disease is easily shed and can live for up to eight months in the environment. Wildlife experts are concerned about how a massive die-off of rabbits would affect predators who depend on them for food. If you see a sick or dead rabbit, report it to the Department of Fish and Wildlife. More information is available below.

Dr. Sara Strongin, staff veterinarian for the Riverside County

Department of Animal Services issued guidelines for those who own domestic rabbits or who come into contact with wild hares:

•         House rabbits should remain inside at all times to minimize

potential contact;

•         Any sick or dead rabbits should be reported to state wildlife

officials and should NOT be touched;

•         Any unusual illness or sudden rabbit deaths should be reported to

your veterinarian immediately;

•         The virus is highly contagious and can be spread by direct contact

with infected animals and/or their urine/feces; can also be spread on

contaminated objects, insects, etc., therefore good hygiene practices are necessary — i.e. wash hands thoroughly before and after handling rabbits, thorough disinfection, leave shoes outside, insect control, etc.

•         Know your hay/feed sources and if they are near areas affected by

the outbreak;

•         Keep dogs on a leash when outside so they don’t interact with wild

rabbits; consider having dogs wear booties when outside, or wash their paws before they come inside. Keep dogs and rabbits in separate areas of your home.

Symptoms for Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease include:

•         Loss of appetite

•         Lethargy

•         High fever

•         Seizures

•         Jaundice

•         Bleeding from nose, mouth, or rectum

•         Difficulty breathing

•         Sudden death

CDFW officials noted that infected rabbits may exhibit no symptoms leading up to their sudden death.

The CDFW asks that anyone who lives, works or recreates in wild rabbit habitat to report any sightings of sick or dead rabbits to CDFW’s Wildlife Investigations Laboratory by calling 916-358-2790 or file an online mortality report.

You can learn more about the disease at


A new website and help line are launching this week to help members of the LGBTQ community navigate the COVID-19 crisis. Ernest Figueroa has more information…

LGBTQ people can now get help during the pandemic from a new COVID-19 help center website and help line launched recently. will include full lists of service providers in all 53 counties and will feature free webinars for people out of work. Samuel Garrett-Pate with Equality California, which created the site, says it’s designed to connect people to the right resources.

“They can look up a testing site near them, if they need help filing for unemployment, applying for a small business loan, if they just need someone they can talk to because they’re dealing with mental-health challenges as a result of the crisis. All of that information is on the website.”

There is also a new helpline, 323-448-0126.

LGBTQ people have been especially hard-hit economically during the pandemic because they tend to be over-represented in the hospitality and food service industries, which have been decimated by the lockdowns.