COUNTY MOVES INTO ORANGE TIER, MORE BUSINESSES OPEN

Life in San Bernardino County is getting back to normal. The county has moved from the Red Tier into the less restrictive Orange Tier. Beginning today (April 7), a variety of institutions and businesses may now open to 50% capacity. Some businesses, like bars and bowling alleys, can now reopen for the first time in over a year. Any bar in the county may now open for outdoor service. Movie theaters, museums, and restaurants may double the number of guests allowed inside. Wineries and breweries can allow patrons to enjoy their beverages indoors. And outdoor stadiums can open at 33% capacity. The county’s key COVID-19 metrics, ranging from its case rate to positivity and health equity positivity rates, have continued to decline, while the number of residents vaccinated against COVID-19 increases daily.

The following is allowed under the new Orange Tier, all with modifications. For a complete listing of what can open in the tier and with specific capacity and modifications, see this updated activity tier from the California Department of Public Health.

Retailers, malls, and grocery stores can operate at 100% capacity with modifications

Museums, zoos and aquariums can open indoors at 50% capacity

Movie theaters can now open with 50% capacity or 100 people

Hotels can now open their indoor pools, and fitness centers at 25% capacity

Gyms can now be at 25% capacity, including climbing walls and indoor pools

Restaurants can open indoors at 50% capacity or 200 people (whichever is fewer)

Wineries, breweries and distilleries can open indoors at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer.

Bars may serve customers outdoors (regardless if serving food)

Family entertainment centers can open indoors at 25% capacity for naturally distanced activities like bowling and rock-climbing walls

While telework is still encouraged for non-essential offices, they can reopen in-person staffing

Outdoor professional sports stadiums can have audiences up to 33% capacity (up from 20%)

Theme parks may reopen at 25% capacity

YUCCA VALLEY TOWN COUNCIL IN A BUSY SESSION LAST NIGHT

Last night’s Yucca Valley Town Council meeting was host to a variety of topics, ranging from community presentations to the ratification of an opposition letter for the relocation of a sexually violent predator into the Twentynine Palms area. Reporter Joshua King has more details…

The Yucca Valley Town Council met last night to discuss many important matters, but first turned over the podium to Joshua Tree National Park Superintendent David Smith for an update on the park. In his presentation, Smith discussed the original closure of the park last year, the high numbers of tourists coming through the park, totaling roughly 3 million visitors this last year, and the upcoming Black Rock Rehabilitation Project.

Joshua Tree National Park Superintendent David Smith talked to the Yucca Valley Town Council at its April 6 meeting about projects to improve the park.

Up next was Linda Tyer from OneLegacy, a nonprofit for organ, eye, and tissue donation, and Jannette Zito on behalf of the San Bernardino County Children’s Network whose presentations led to the designation of April 2021 as both DonateLife Month and Child Abuse Prevention Month in the Town of Yucca Valley.

Following, the council began their discussion on ratifying a letter of opposition to the transplantation of sexually violent predator Lawtis Donald Rhoden to Twentynine Palms from Orange County. The letter’s ratification received unanimous approval from the council. Rhoden has no prior ties to the area.

Sheriff’s Captain Luke Niles talks to the Yucca Valley Town Council about the Sheriff Department’s opposition to moving a sexually violent predator from Orange County to Twentynine Palms.

COUNTY OPENS VACCINATIONS FOR 16 AND OLDER

The county announced that every resident aged 16 and older is now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. Residents ages 16 and 17 will need to be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian to receive the Pfizer vaccine (the only one approved for people under 18). The Moderna and the Johnson & Johnson vaccines are available to those who are 18 years and older. More than 785,000 vaccinations have been administered to San Bernardino County residents through county-run sites and a variety of independent providers such as hospitals, physician practices, and major pharmacies.

To schedule an appointment, visit the county vaccination page or call the COVID-19 helpline at 909-387-3911, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

SCHOOL BOARD APPROVES INDOOR ATHLETICS

The Morongo Unified School District board of trustees held a special meeting last night do discuss allowing the return of indoor athletics for student athletes. Reporter Andrew Dieleman has the details…

At last night’s special meeting, Director of Secondary Curriculum Justin Howard outlined the district’s extensive proposal for allowing student athletes to return to indoor sports, primarily boys and girls basketball and wrestling. After a brief discussion, the board voted 4-0 (Trustee Kerri Condley being absent) to approve indoor athletics beginning April 19. The estimated 75-100 student athletes will be required to undergo mandatory COVID-19 testing twice per week with only approved athletes, coaches, and spectators allowed at practices and games.

The Morongo Unified School District board of trustees. From left to right, top to bottom: President Hilary Slotta, Assistant Superintendent Amy Woods, Interim Superintendent Doug Weller, Trustee Robert Hamilton, Trustee Megan Berge, Trustee Cathy Nelson, Assistant Superintendent Mike Ghelber, Director of Secondary Curriculum Justin Howard, and Assistant Superintendent Sharon Flores. Trustee Kerri Condley was absent for the meeting.

STATE SETS JUNE 15 FULL REOPENING DATE

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday said California is ready to fully reopen its economy by June 15, if vaccine and hospitalization numbers remain stable. California is set to surpass more than 20 million vaccine doses administered, including 4 million in the state’s hardest-hit communities. With hospitalizations continuing to steadily decline, Newsom said the next step in the COVID-19 pandemic recovery is moving beyond the state’s blueprint for a safer economy. With the full reopening, everyday activities will be allowed, and businesses can open with common-sense risk reduction measures.