SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY — The county Board of Supervisors reviewed state guidelines for allowing businesses to reopen Thursday and although the county does not meet those requirements, supervisors said if the state will not grant an exception, they may move forward on plans to allow businesses to open for inside service anyway.

On Thursday morning, Gov. Gavin Newsom released standards that counties must meet to be able to move deeper into stage two of the reopening process. The early phase of stage two is opening for curbside pickup; the later phase allows dining inside restaurants and shopping inside stores.

Requirements for going deeper into stage two include having no COVID-19 related deaths for 14 days and no more than one case per 10,000 people in the last 14 days. San Bernardino County does not meet these requirements.

Newsom announced in a press conference Monday that the state will be moving into stage two of the stay-at-home order allowing “low-risk” businesses including clothing stores, florists, bookstores and sporting goods stores to reopen for curbside pickup. Manufacturing business and warehouses are also allowed to reopen with operational changes.

In this conference he announced that some California counties that were less affected by the virus would be able to push forward into the later phase of the stage two opening and, at the time, San Bernardino County supervisors and officials believed that they would be a part of this group of counties.

However in Thursday’s press conference, California Health and Human Services Secretary  laid out this regional variance criteria and the San Bernardino County board of supervisors said it was much stricter than they expected. Along with requiring no recent deaths and a low number of cases, the criteria also requires minimum daily testing of 1.5 tests per 1,000 residents, at least 15 contact tracers per 100,000 residents, the ability to temporarily house at least 15 percent of the county residents experiencing homelessness and the ability to make disinfectants and protective gear available for essential workers.

“Those are the triggers for reopening the local flexibility,” said county Chief Executive Officer Gary McBride. “Absent of us being able to attain those we have to go along with what the state is doing.”

McBride said that San Bernardino County is averaging at two deaths per day and over 70 new cases a day; the governor's criteria would require that the cases be reduced to about 16 a day.

Supervisor Dawn Rowe, who represents the 3rd District including the Morongo Basin, noted that the county's numbers do not comply with the governor’s criteria, in part, because skilled nursing facilities in the county have been so greatly affected.

“When you remove those numbers it's a brighter outlook for us to consider,” she said.

This criteria does not affect the opening of the first phase of stage two businesses, only the second phase of stage two businesses.

In response to this news, the county has decided to draft a full plan with input from the San Bernardino County Public Health Department and county staff to send to the governor's office for approval, despite not meeting the requirements for further reopening.

The plan, which they said they are hoping to be able to move forward with by May 15 at the latest, may include opening restaurants for dine-in, churches and other businesses the county supervisors deem as low-risk. Businesses that are approved for opening will be given safety guidelines for staff, like increasing hand washing and spacing out people inside.

Businesses that comply will receive a placard for the front of their business, similar to a food grade placard, that says they have been approved by the county for opening.

The plan is still being drafted and will be approved by all board members before being submitted to the governor’s office.

Supervisors agreed that, if the governor's office does not approve the plan, they may move forward anyway. However, they hope to get permission and plan to work with the governor’s office to get permission before moving without state approval.

“At this time we are not doing anything that has not been approved by the state,” said board chairman Curt Hagman. “We will ask permission first and well see how the governor's office responds to that based on our numbers.”

The county will host its weekly press conference at 11 a.m. Friday, May 8, to go over plans and to further explain their criteria for businesses reopening on Friday. This conference is available for viewing at

(19) comments

Branson Hunter

This doesn't look good to me... the Administration, the states, counties -- many are just doing their own thing in terms of opening and getting the country back to something of normal. Sure some states and areas are at less risk but there are no uniform plans even for three states. When I grew up we were taught to respect, when I went off to the military we were taught about loving country and defending those rights we're used to and those coveted right afforded under state and federal constitutions. When I went off to different colleges and got a degrees I further widen my knowledge how great this country is Are we still the United States? It seems the demagogues and righteousness are all pulling and tugging in different ways for their own purposes. There may be many people that believe such as I do. And that is I don't care what is open I'm protecting myself... no closed spaces like restaurants and limited exposure for a while see how it goes.


"Supervisor Dawn Rowe...noted that the county's numbers do not comply with the governor’s criteria, in part, because skilled nursing facilities in the county have been so greatly affected.

'When you remove those numbers it's a brighter outlook for us to consider,' she said."

I mean sure, if you take out all the dead people, things are going great!


The deceased are not considered "active" cases. I would venture that some of nursing homes are still dealing with active cases amongst the residents.

I will be continuing with my current practice of either working in unoccupied areas or if occupied and it's an emergency repair to be kitted in mask, nitrile, rubber or heavy leather gloves with wipe down with 6 percent undiluted chlorine bleach or isopropyl alcohol before and after project as well as distancing.

Gloves and mask for shopping following normal biohazard protocol to enter/load vehicle.

I know a lot of people are really hurting, but as painful as the current restrictions are it's a whole bunch better than intubation, bodily degradation or death.

Flatten the curve is only a baby step back to normal. We as a nation and the world have barely begun this treacherous journey into the unknown.


Yes and what about the people who visit and carry the infection out with them

Mark Simmons

Oh, those dal gone dead people! If not for them, everything would be “sunshine and roses” in Supervisor Rowe’s world. Like COVID-19 didn’t really exist at all in the Morongo Basin. La, dee, da!

Branson Hunter

This is an open comment to the Marine Corp Air and Ground Command Center's Brigadier General Rodger Turner. Sir, I am a former Marine and presently live in Twentynine Palms on Incorporated. I urge you to please consider educating your Marines about wearing a mask. I shelter and only go out when I have to go out. However, when I do go out, as yesterday, and previous times , I have to mix with Marine who are not wearing a mask. They're standing right next to me breathing. I am a former Marine and I've been stationed at the base twice, I don't want to lose my life because Marines failed to wear safety equipment. I don't want to argue with our young man about wearing a mask, that is your job sir. Thank you so much for serving our country.


Evidently both Riverside and San Bernardino counties have gone to mask optional but recommended.

I'm a little surprised since compliance has been excellent of late.

I guess no one follows the news feeds outside of their little kingdom.

Seoul is re-upping restrictions after a resurgence of new infections.

NYC is still cooking.

Los Angeles is still a hot spot.

Mexico City and Tijuana is just bezerk with new cases and deaths 4 times the reported figures by some estimates.

Until there are either NO cases for a month or a vaccine I'll be following my biohazard (airborne/surface) protocols.

The rat race resumes. First ones to the bait stations are the first ones dead.


Thank you, Branson. I have been noticing the same thing. Do these brainwashed individuals think they are not going to carry the virus and infect any one just because they are young and strong? Maybe they only care about protecting other marines and not civilians? Is that part of the training?

I would ask this: Please listen to Branson. I am not about to go up to one of these people and start a fight. But they might listen to someone higher in rank since that is their training.

Branson Hunter

I don't like to go out and have careless people breathe in my face. That's an offensive assault. It makes me 'agitated.' This plague has changed our lives and the way when we live. Here's a thought I would like to share:

"Everybody knows that pestilences have a way of recurring in the world; yet somehow we find it hard to believe in ones that crash down on our heads from a blue sky. There have been as many plagues as wars in history; yet, always plagues and wars take people equally by surprise." -- Albert Camus


Camus also predicted that the rats would come back. Well, they're back and they're in charge.

Branson Hunter

I don't think we're getting this from local media, however San Bernardino County has administered the lowest number of tests per capita among all ten Southern California counties. We could be opening too soon because we're not following State guidelines with our curve. What is worrisome is that people will be too cavalier and believe everything's okay and not take precautions. So there is no mask requirement now... I can foresee striff between residence wearing masks and those not wearing masks in spaces. This is a tough call for County supervisor. I hope the buck stops with the supervisors.


Barely above 30,000 tested so far.

Probably a massive amount of folks asymptomatic and going about their business, plus a few "super spreaders" that just plain don't care. It just takes a handful to ramp up the "R" factor.

Welcome to the tRumpian world - "Live and Let Die".

Of note: the West Wing of the Blight House may be the next DC hotspot for Covid19. Who's gonna help donny with his coloring book now?



I don't think America can survive Covid-19. Standing on line waiting to enter Wal-Mart- half the people are not wearing masks and are standing right behind each other- literally breathing down people's necks! The employees "guarding" the line, wearing yellow safety vests and standing alongside yellow "caution" tape, are supposed to be making sure folks are social distancing. I remarked to one that hardly anyone was and got this answer: "When they get past me I don't care what they do". I pointed out that the ones behind him were the problem. All I got was a dumb look. They could have cared less. People with little kids with no masks all bunched up and gabbing away. Wal-Mart no longer gives away wipes, but claims all the carts are cleaned by employees before being brought inside. I'm supposed to trust THAT? They must be crazy. I asked a family standing right behind me (zero masks) to move back five feet and the Dad informed me that when I get inside it will be impossible to separate from others. I told him I'll do the best I can. What a moron. There were dozens of them on line. Home Depot was just the opposite- they made sure the line stayed separated and had some burly guys to enforce it. Wal-Mart is ground zero as far as I'm concerned. My experiences on the local buses and at gas stations and stores has convinced me that people are just too stupid, brainwashed, or both to withstand the severity of this pandemic. Throw in the insane rush to reopen and the even more insane rush to shore up political support for the coming elections at the cost of even more lives. It's a recipe for unparalleled disaster. Wish I had some hope here, but the careless behavior I'm witnessing is proof positive that we're doomed unless a radical overhaul of consciousness happens quickly. How many more thousands have to needlessly perish under the cold glares of worthless "leaders" whose only loyalty is to themselves.


From a historical perspective of what happened with the Spanish flu and given the current situation, and using the death rate of New York state as worst case: Roughly 465,000 persons will perish from the FIRST wave in the USA and it's territories.

Not much has changed since 1918.

How sad.

Bigly sad.

Live and Let Die........

Branson Hunter

"Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." -- In 1942, when the allies won a decisive, hard-fought victory over the Nazis in North Africa, Winston Churchill tempered the welcome good news.


Don't expect an El Alamein like victory coming from the present leadership in DC. At this point they're lost in a desert sand storm, not knowing where to go next. Now that inner circle folks are testing positive, maybe leadership will find the appropriate direction out of this mess.


A once in a hundred year pandemic and we have leaders not only do not understand the science they will bow to the the minority of angry masses that feel their freedom is being taken away if they are told by the government that wearing a mask helps everyone.


School districts through out the nation have cut science budgets for several generations. Today you are witnessing the result of this shortsightedness. I have friends in their early 60's that eschewed wearing a mask, now both have the vid. The wife is an employee of a long term care facility, who most likely picked it up at work. She actually chided a family member for wearing a mask, and two days later she started feeling ill herself. After a weekend of labored breathing, she's doing better, just very tired and continuous headaches. But how many folks did she expose to the vid before she became ill. Very distressing to see shoppers at Stater Bros. going maskless.

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