SoCal local mountains covered in fresh snow, off limits to revelers this Easter weekend due to coronavirus restrictions

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (KABC) -- A spring storm has covered the local mountains in Southern California. And typically, the equation of snow plus a holiday weekend would make an ideal playground. But it's a different world right now due to the coronavirus.

While there's plenty of fresh snow, local officials are pleading with residents: "Don't come up here this weekend!"

"We have a lot of businesses that survive on the crowds but all those businesses are closed," said Capt. Don Lupear of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. "All the ski areas are closed, and that includes the parking for the snow play. So anywhere you try to park is illegal, and the county fine for parking in a snow area is $150."

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While the Magnolia Rehab and Nursing Center made headlines Wednesday for the more than 80 patients who had to evacuate because so many employees didn't show up for work, the facility next door, Extended Care Hospital of Riverside, is still up and running despite 28 patients and 26 staff members who've tested positive for coronavirus.

For residents who live in the mountains, there's still a way to exercise. The U.S. Forest Service released the following statement:

"The general forest area including the trail system will remain open...but we recommend exercising close to your home and complying with local and state guidance for not traveling for your recreation needs."

Chain installer Joel Sunderland doesn't think people are heeding the warning and wonders why.

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Riverside and San Bernardino counties are bracing for a surge in coronavirus cases, particularly in nursing homes.

"There's no ski resorts open, local businesses are closed right now," said Sunderland. "It's not a place to be right now. Everybody needs to be home."
Sunderland said he keeps seeing people coming up to the mountains, renting out cabins and Airbnbs. This is not allowed right now, according to a local health order.

San Bernardino County's Second District Supervisor Janice Rutherford says the county is watching.

"There will definitely be enforcement. Our code enforcement officers are getting tons of phone calls fro neighbors who are watching the Airbnbs being rented out. They are reporting them to the county, and the county is pursuing enforcement and contacting the owners and there can be fines," Rutherford said.

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Health and elected officials announced the "safer at home" order that has been in effect throughout Los Angeles County since last month will be extended until at least May 15.

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