Big Bear businesses urging county to let them reopen

Business owners and out-of-work employees held a rally in Big Bear Lake Wednesday, asking that COVID-19 related restrictions be eased to allow them to reopen.
BIG BEAR LAKE, Calif. (KABC) -- Business owners and out-of-work employees held a rally in Big Bear Lake Wednesday, asking that COVID-19 related restrictions be eased to allow them to reopen.

They held signs that read "We Love Big Bear," "I'm Losing My Business," and "Push Back." Organizers said they got a lot of support from people driving by them.

But not everyone agrees with lifting restrictions.

"We got some middle fingers," admitted business owner Holly Cass. "But we got some love though, and I'm always happy to see that."

Cass owns Summit Real Estate, and said 90% of her business is tied to short-term rentals, which are not currently allowed to operate. She said for many employees, and other owners whose income relies on renting out cabins, the situation is dire.

"We have eight employees who've all been laid off," said Cass. "Because Big Bear Lake is seasonal, so are most of our employees. Many of them haven't been able to get unemployment. And those who have haven't received anything."

Cass is willing to reopen with restrictions and modifications. Not only is she willing to limit capacity to 50%, but also suggested limiting who can stay together, to stop the potential spread of COVID-19.

"And all the management companies are OK with each home having only one family be there. So with our bigger properties, we don't want families in there who don't live together."

Short-term lodging businesses are on the list that the San Bernardino county board of supervisors wants to reopen. Wednesday, the board approved sending their request for a variance to the governor, to hopefully allow those businesses, along with churches and personal grooming facilities like barber shops and salons, to reopen.

The request is similar to one approved by the Riverside County board of supervisors on Tuesday.

"What I want to see us do as a collective group is look at the hard science, and look at those not at risk, and move forward," said San Bernardino county first district supervisor Robert Lovingood, who said churches should be allowed to reopen, and many of the restrictions don't make sense.

"I'm having ministers who say they have families in crisis, and they want the ability to bring them into churches and counsel them," said Lovingood.

"Yet I can walk into a sandwich shop, pick up my food and stand around with six others, but not sit at a table? This has to end."
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