The city of Big Bear Lake has given the middle finger to Governor Gavin Newsom for his stay–at-home order, saying they won’t enforce it anymore because its residents are adults who can decide for themselves the risks of being outside amid the pandemic.
“Businesses and residents should take responsibility for their own actions” and consider “the risks with their specific circumstances (including health, legal, financial, and licensing), and act accordingly,” City officials said in a statement.
Officials of the San Bernardino county city also argued that the governor had overstepped his authority with his edict and they are not obligated to force it on citizens.
“The City has no legal responsibility to enforce the Governor’s restrictions,” officials said in a May 21 statement. “The City intends to no longer be involved in the communication or enforcement of the Governor’s orders.”
“Businesses and residences should take responsibility for their own actions. “
They said that the epidemic, which has ravaged other areas is actually minimal in their area. But residences should exercise caution when they venture outside their homes by wearing face masks and practicing social distancing.
“As a result of the community’s diligence in adhering to these restrictions, combined with the isolated geography and unique natural environment of Big Bear Lake, COVID-19 has been and continues to be manageable in the Big Bear Valley.”
“Thankfully the incidence of COVID-19 in the Big Bear Valley has remained low for the duration of the COVID 19 event.”
The re-opening follows a May 13 letter to Govenor Newsom from Mayor Rick Herick asking permission to re-open because of the low incidents of Covad-19 infections in their area.
“COVID-19 has not overwhelmed the health care system in the Big Bear Valley nor San Bernardino County, and there is adequate (and perhaps greater) capacity in our health care facilities.”
Herrick noted that there have been only 9 confirmed cases of infection since March 8 and that nobody had succumbed to the illness.
He said the re-opening is needed because the stay-at-home had ravaged local business. “It is estimated that 70% (or more) of our local economy is NOT functioning, and our community is and will continue to suffer significant harm.”
But their plan “ represents the most effective approach to keep our residents, second homeowners, investors, businesses, and visitors safe while salvaging our local economy, preserving the livelihoods of our residents, and maintaining the social fabric of our community.”
Newsom did not reply to the missive.
Other small municipalities have flouted Newsom’s order. Earlier this month the Northern California counties of Yuba and Sutter announced they would allow business to reopen.
And Modoc County, also in Northern California, announced earlier this month that business, schools and churches would re-open.
But taking a more nuanced approach the city of South Lake Tahoe announced this week that second home owners are welcome – tourists without regular digs are not. Only 10 days ago, California Globe reported that the Mayor of South Lake Tahoe was telling tourists to stay away or pay a $1,000 fine. The Tahoe Basin draws millions of visitors each year.
“We love our visitors and recognize how much they contribute to this City and this economy,” said City Manager Joe Irvin, “We just know how important it is to get things open safely, and we all understand we are stronger together and safer apart right now.”
“We would love nothing more than to welcome everyone to Tahoe right now, but that’s not the safest way to bring people back to South Lake,” said Irvin.“We need to be responsible and make sure we are doing our part to keep our neighbors safe and Tahoe safe while adhering to the Governor’s Stay at Home Orders.”