After months of spreading worldwide, the effects of the coronavirus began to hit Highland on Thursday, March 12, not in the form of a confirmed case, but first through Gov. Gavin Newsom’s order to cancel or postpone gatherings of 250 people or more to prevent spread of the disease. Since then five coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the county of San Bernardino and, on Tuesday, March 17, the county has canceled all gatherings and closed theaters, gyms, health clubs, entertainment establishments and other businesses. Restaurants are restricted to drive-thru and carryout business only.
Newsom gave the order on Wednesday, March 11, while the county of San Bernardino had no confirmed coronavirus.
The county’s first confirmed coronavirus case, a patient at Kaiser Permanente in Fontana, was reported on Monday, March 16. As of Friday, March 20, there were nine confirmed cases in the county.
“The health risk from COVID-19 to the general public in San Bernardino County remains low at this time, but everyone is strongly urged to engage in practices that reduce the risk of spread,” said Acting County Health Officer Dr. Erin Gustafson.
Friday afternoon, March 14, San Bernardino City Unified School District canceled classes, followed by Redlands Unified School District on Saturday.
On Tuesday, March 17, the city of Highland decided to close city hall to the public while its staff continues to work. Most other public agencies have initiated similar protocols.
“City staff is still working,” said City Manager Joseph Hughes Tuesday afternoon. “We’re trying to do as much as we can over the phone, email and mail. We’re encouraging people to call and make an appointment if needed.”
Appointments will be screened based on questions provided by the USDA, and only one person from the public will be allowed into the city hall lobby at a time.
According to Hughes, the city will continue this procedure until at least April 16.
City meetings for the rest of March have also been canceled.
“We decided to cancel the meetings as we didn’t have any business on a necessary deadline,” Hughes said.
A city council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, April 14. As the date nears, city staff will create appropriate procedures to conduct the meeting while following federal and state guidelines, Hughes said.
For more information on conducting business with the city during this closure visit ci.highland.ca.us.
Local stores remain open but many are on new hours, adjusted to allow additional cleaning and restocking between hours of operation.
On Tuesday, Stater Bros. issued a press release advising the public that the supermarket chain, like many others, is continuing to restock daily.
Stater Bros. urges customers to shop only for their weekly needs and to shop at times other than first thing in the morning to reduce crowding.
To help keep supplies in availability, limits have been placed on high demand items and customers are urged not to purchase more than what is needed in the coming week.