News Alert: Needles, CA: Information regarding California’s “Stay-At-Home” order due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

By: Zachary Lopez (ZachNews):

Source: County of San Bernardino, County of San Bernardino Department of Public Health and State of California (Information and Press Releases):

Picture: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Courtesy):

Needles, California: Governor Gavin Newsom issued on Thursday, March 19, 2020 a statewide “Stay-At-Home” order in an attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19 Pandemic.

The “Stay-At-Home” order is in affect until further notice, and requires everyone in California to stay home except for essential needs.

Everybody is being told to regularly wash hands with soap and water, clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily and practice social distancing, and if you’re sick, please stay home.

Counties like the County of San Bernardino want cities like the community of Needles, California to follow and obey the State’s “Stay-At-Home” order, and not allowing non-essential businesses and activities to occur until the statewide “Stay-At-Home” order is lifted.

All San Bernardino County residents and visitors are strongly encouraged to continue to practice good public health hygiene and follow guidance from CDC, CDPH and DPH to protect themselves from possibly spreading of COVID-19 as well as any illness.

Because of this, the following is some information related to “Essential” and “Non-Essential” activities as well as a list of “Essential” and “Non-Essential” businesses either allow to stay open or are being told to close.

  • Regarding “Essential” and “Non-Essential” Activities:

The “Stay-At-Home” order requires everyone in California to stay home except for “Essential” needs such as to get food, care for a relative or friend, get necessary health care such as going to the pharmacy, going to the doctors for an appointment or going to the hospital if an emergency; taking your pet to the vet or pet hospital if your pet is sick; and going to an essential job.

When going those these “Essential” tasks, the County of San Bernardino as well as the State of California ask that you to maintain a safe social distance of six feet from people who aren’t part of your household.

In an effort to protect the public from further spread of COVID-19, the County’s Acting Health Officer has formally ordered on Tuesday, April 7th, 2020 that everyone in San Bernardino County to wear a face covering when leaving home.

The Acting Health Officer’s order may be viewed here. Violation of the order is a crime punishable by up to a $1,000 fine or imprisonment up to 90 days, or both.

But late on Wednesday, April 9th, 2020, a day after announcing publicly an order that everyone in San Bernardino County to wear a face covering when leaving home or violating the order is a punishable crime, the County of San Bernardino has changing their tone.

The County of San Bernardino is now saying the public is advised that although violation of a health order is a violation of the California Health and Safety Code, the County does not expect law enforcement to broadly impose citations on violators. The expectation is that law enforcement will rely upon community members to use good judgment, common sense, and act in the best interests of their own health and the health of their loved ones and the community at large. The imposition of penalties on members of the public who willfully and grossly disregard public health orders by putting others at risk of exposure to this infectious disease is meant as a tool for law enforcement to use as a deterrent.

Regarding the use of face-coverings while driving, there is no need for drivers traveling alone or with members of their households to wear face coverings unless they must lower their windows to interact with first responders, food service workers, or others who are not members of their households.

The County of San Bernardino wants residents and the public to know that other clarifying guidance will be forthcoming.

In regards to exercising, taking kids to the park for fresh air, taking a walk around the block or taking your dog for a walk, the County of San Bernardino as well as the State of California said as long as you are maintaining a safe social distance of six feet from people who aren’t part of your household, and wear face mask and/or face protective coverings, it’s okay to go outside for fresh air, exercise, take a walk around the block or take your dog for a walk.

In regards to going hiking or visit a California’s State Parks, the State of California said you can walk, run, hike and bike in their local neighborhoods as long as you are maintaining a safe social distance of six feet from people who aren’t part of your household; this means avoiding crowded trails and parking lots.

To help reduce crowds, California’s State Parks is modifying operations at some parks, including closing vehicular access and parking lots to reduce density of visitors.

Everybody has the responsibility to “Flatten the COVID-19 Curve at Parks” by maintaining a social distance of 6 feet or more when recreating in the outdoors, and staying home if they are sick.

If visitors cannot maintain social distancing at California’s State Parks, they need to leave the park.

As for going to church services in the County during the State’s order, the County’s Acting Health Officer has formally ordered on Tuesday, April 7th, 2020 that all faith-based services in San Bernardino County must be electronic only through streaming or online technology.

This order is to protect the public from further spread of COVID-19.

People may not leave their homes for driving parades or drive-up services or to pick up non-essential items such as pre-packaged Easter eggs or bags filled with candy and toys at a drive-thru location.

“We understand that this is an important time for Christians around the world and it is natural to want to worship and celebrate with our families. Right now, however, is a critical time for our country and our community – we can still celebrate this time from the safety of our individual homes while we help flatten the curve and save lives,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman. “When we stay home we help our healthcare workers and our emergency responders and vulnerable populations beat COVID-19.”

Many churches and houses of worship are hosting “virtual” services, streamed online.

The County encourages single-family, home-based worshipping and activities, including Easter egg hunts among household members inside the house or in residential back yards.

Here in Needles, California, churches such as St. Anne’s Catholic Church and Set Free Church of Needles are adapting to the current COVID-19 pandemic situation, and have been streaming their church masses and services via social media such as Facebook and YouTube.

You can view the mention churches mass and services by going to the following social media websites:

– St. Anne’s Catholic Church:

https://www.facebook.com/stanncatholic/

– Set Free Church of Needles:

https://www.facebook.com/setfreeneedles/

The County of San Bernardino as well as the State of California are urging those in the public to obey the State’s “Stay-At-Home” order and only go outside for “Essential” tasks mention earlier.

  • Regarding Open Local and County Departments; and “Essential” Businesses:

The “Stay-At-Home” order by California’s Governor orders that all “essential to the functioning of our state” can remain open including: gas stations; pharmacies; public transportation, airport travel, grocery stores, convenience stores, charitable food distribution or food banks, certified farmers’ markets, banks; laundromats/laundry services; and all essential and local government departments including law enforcement and offices that provide government programs and services.

In Downtown Needles, California, the food pantry at St. Vincent de Paul at 839 Front Street is only open from 9:00 a.m to 1:45 p.m. PT (California Time) Tuesday through Saturday.

The order by the State of California also does not apply to congregate living situations, including dormitories and homeless encampments.

In Downtown Needles, California, the lobby at the City of Needles Administration Offices remains closed until Friday, April 17th, 2020.

The community is being asked to use the dropbox to pay utility; money orders or check but no cash payments, and if you are needing further assistance and information you are being asked to call: 1 (760) 326-5700; do not knock on the front lobby doors.

  • More Information Regarding Retail Beverage Service Venues:

Bars, wineries, breweries and pubs should be closed, except for venues that are currently authorized to provide off sale beer and wine to be consumed off premises are allowed. This guidance by the State of California is not intended to affect production of beer and wine.

Bars, breweries, pubs, and wineries that include meals provided by a full kitchen should follow the restaurant guidance below if they provide delivery or pick-up options.

  • More Information Regarding Restaurants/Cafeterias:

Restaurants including fast food restaurants should be closed for in-restaurant seated dining and should be open only to drive-through or other pick-up/delivery options.

Remind employees of best hygiene practices including washing their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Increase frequency of cleaning and sanitizing per CDC Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection guidance of all hard surfaces, including tables and counter tops that are being utilized by employees and patrons during pickup/delivery options.

CDC Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection guidance can be viewed at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cleaning-disinfection.html

  • More Information Regarding Food Trucks:

Increase frequency of cleaning of menus, cash registers, receipt trays, condiment holders, writing instruments and other non-food contact surfaces frequently touched by patrons and employees.

Ensure that social distancing of six feet per person for non-family members is maintained and make clear that family members can participate together, stand in line together, etc.Limiting the number of people in lines.

Increase frequency of cleaning and sanitizing per CDC Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection guidance of all hard surfaces.

Remind employees of best hygiene practices including washing their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

CDC Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection guidance can be viewed at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cleaning-disinfection.html

  • More Information Regarding Grocery Stores and Charitable Food Distribution Sites:

The food distribution chain is critical to the public’s health.

Grocery stores and charitable food distribution sites should remain fully open and operational.

As with other settings, ensure that social distancing of six feet per person for non-family members is maintained and make clear that family members can participate in activities together, stand in line together, etc.

Social distancing of six feet per person, particularly between individuals who have come together on a one-time or rare basis.

Limiting the number of customers at any given time as necessary to reduce outdoor/indoor crowding and lines to meet social distancing guidance.

Increase cleaning and sanitizing frequency of restroom and other high contact areas.

Train employees on best hygiene practices including washing their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Additional opportunities throughout the venue for persons to reduce the spread of the virus through hand washing or sanitizing stations.

Eliminate events/marketing that target individuals that CDPH has identified as higher risk of serious illness for COVID-19.

Information regarding identified as higher risk of serious illness for COVID-19 can be viewed at: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/CDPH%20Document%20Library/High%20Risk%20Populations%20Guidance%20ADA%20Compliant%2003.11.20.pdf

Stores that have online ordering with outside pick-up or delivery options should encourage use of these when possible in lieu of indoor shopping.

  • More Information Regarding Certified Farmers’ Markets:

Space booths accordingly to increase social distancing among patrons in line and walking about the market.Ensure that social distancing of six feet per person for non-family members is maintained and make clear that family members can participate in activities together, stand in line together, etc.

Limit the number of customers at any given time as necessary to reduce outdoor/indoor crowding and lines to meet social distancing guidance.

Increase cleaning and sanitizing frequency of restroom and other high contact areas.

Train employees on best hygiene practices including washing their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Offer additional hand washing or sanitizing stations throughout the venue.

Eliminate events/marketing that target individuals that CDPH has identified as higher risk of serious illness for COVID-19.

Encourage activities such as pre-bagging to expedite purchasing.Suspend sampling activities.Increase frequency of cleaning of tables, payment devices, and other surfaces.

Eliminate non-essential/non-related services, such as bands or other entertainment.

At the end of the market, continue to utilize local food recovery systems to feed/donate extra products to populations in need.

If applicable, continue accepting EBT payment.

You can view the full guidance posted above at: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/CDPH%20Document%20Library/COVID-19/Coronavirus%20Disease%202019%20and%20Food%20Beverage%20Other%20Services%20-%20AOL.pdf

  • Regarding Closed Local and County Departments:

The Needles Regional Museum located on Front Street in Downtown Needles, California is closed until further notice.

The County of San Bernardino has closed the following departments until further notice, this includes: all County branch libraries; Agriculture/Weights and Measures; Assessor- Recorder-Clerk; Big Bear Senior Center; Bloomington Ayala Senior Center; 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); Joshua Tree Community Center; Joshua Tree Desert Conversation Area (Section 6); Land Use Services, which includes Planning, Building and Safety, and Code Enforcement; Preschool Services (Head Start); Public Defender; Public Works, with the exception of lobby computer access to survey or records; Purchasing; Registrar of Voters, with the exception of election observers by appointment only; Risk Management; San Bernardino Superior Courts will be closed until April 30th, 2020; Special Districts Water and Sanitation; Transitional Assistance; Veterans Affairs; Wonder Valley Community Center; and Workforce Development, however, in-person appointments will be conducted only when necessary.

  • Regarding Local and County Schools:

According to the County Superintendent of Schools, all San Bernardino County public schools have voluntarily closed as part of the effort to stop the spread of the virus.

The County of San Bernardino is telling residents to check with their local school districts for any further updates regarding school closures and resources for their students.

More information regarding Local and County school closures is found at the following press release at: https://www.sbcss.k12.ca.us/images/Documents/comm/coronavirus/20200316-SchoolClosures-NR-4.pdf

  • Regarding Closed “Non-Essential” Businesses:

The “Stay-At-Home” order by California’s Governor orders that all “Non-Essential” businesses are to be closed; this includes dine-in restaurants (unless doing take out, drive-thru and delivery service only within health and state guidelines mention above); bars, wineries, breweries and pubs; nightclubs; adult entertainment establishments; gyms, fitness and spa centers; health clubs; public events and entertainment venues such as convention centers, rodeo grounds and fair grounds; movie theaters; salons and barbershops; clothing stores, thrift shops; and other businesses that serve alcohol but do not serve food are to be closed.

In Downtown Needles, California, the thrift store portion of St. Vincent de Paul is closed but the food pantry at St. Vincent de Paul at 839 Front Street is only open from 9:00 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. PT (California Time) Tuesday through Saturday.

The County of San Bernardino is advising those “Non-Essential” businesses who choose not to close and disobeying the State’s orders may get a visit by officials or by law enforcement, and will be given in written notice to close.

The public can report those “Non-Essential” businesses by calling the COVID-19 Public Information Phone Line at: 1 (909) 387-3911 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PT (California Time) or by going to: https://dphsbcounty.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_9ZiPuXkOoP29l4x?fbclid=IwAR3rgCgi5ux9CHurQg_azB4ZI_ldgDa5K_cZ8OWVcYyaTTInaGriee2-Vxs

  • Regarding Outdoor Recreation:

While California’s “Stay-At-Home” order do allow for outdoor recreation, with many parks, campgrounds and nature centers are being closed.

Residents from Needles, California who’ve contacted the County of San Bernardino’s COVID-19 Public Information Phone Line are being told that all parks, skateboard parks, baseball fields, dog parks, playgrounds and public beaches should be closed.

As of Tuesday, April 7th, 2020, the City of Needles has locked closed the public restrooms at Nikki Bunch Memorial Field and Franz Flowers Ball Fields, and have removed beaches at the snack stand at Nikki Bunch Memorial Field and Franz Flowers Ball Fields.

The City of Needles have posted signs at their local parks as as well as their baseball fields and skateboard park telling the public of “No Gathering Over 10 People” and “Social Gatherings Maintain 6 ft Apart.”

Also, the City of Needles has closed the local dog park, Spike’s Desert Dog Park, as well as the local skate park off J Street.

  • Regarding Closed Local and County Attractions:

The County of San Bernardino has closed the following attractions until further notice, this includes: Big Bear Alpine Zoo at Moonridge; all Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District parks; all Bloomington Recreation and Park district parks; County museums and historical sites; County Regional Parks, including Calico Ghost Town; North Etiwanda Preserve; Oak Glen Park and Museum; and the Park and Recreation District preschool in Joshua Tree.

  • More Public Information Regarding COVID-19:

The public can contact the County of San Bernardino’s COVID-19 Public Information Phone Line for general information and resources about the COVID-19 virus at either by phone at: 1 (909) 387-3911 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PT (California Time) or email at: coronavirus@dph.sbcounty.gov

The County of San Bernardino wants to remind the public that the COVID-19 Public Information Phone Line is not for medical calls, and if you’re feeling sick, you’re being asked to please contact your health care provider.

Also, the County of San Bernardino wants to remind the public to only call 9-1-1 if you have a medical emergency.

For questions about social services, the County of San Bernardino wants to remind the public to please call: 2-1-1.

More information as well as resources regarding COVID-19 in San Bernardino County, California can also be found on the County of San Bernardino’s COVID-19 website at: http://wp.sbcounty.gov/dph/coronavirus/

More information as well as resources regarding COVID-19 in California can also be found on the State of California’s COVID-19 website at: https://covid19.ca.gov/

Please Stay Healthy, Stay Home and Stay Strong Everybody in Needles, California and San Bernardino County, California.

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