New health order allows San Bernardino businesses to require face coverings as reopening continues

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Officials in San Bernardino County issued a new health order Friday allowing businesses and other entities the option to require face coverings —which are not mandatory— in some facilities.

Along with businesses like the Ontario International Airport, government locations are also allowed to require face coverings.

“As we get back to normal there will be some changes, there will be some protections in place,” Curt Hagman, chairman of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, said at a morning news conference Friday. “We don’t want to see our numbers go up.”

The county, which has had 4,914 cases of the coronavirus and 190 deaths reported as of Thursday, has been making strides in reopening over the last week. On Tuesday, hair salons and barbershops were the latest businesses given the OK to welcome back customers. County officials also announced salon and barbershop owners are eligible for cash grants under the county’s  COVID Compliant Business Partnership Program

The initiative was created to help small businesses ensure ongoing compliance with COVID-19 safety measures.

“This is important because shops that cut, style, and color hair have to comply with more safety requirements than other businesses under the State’s rules,” Hagman said.

On Monday, San Bernardino County received the state’s permission to allow places of worship to resume for religious services at a reduced 25% of the building’s capacity or 100 attendees, whichever is less. The county also got the green light to reopen restaurants and retail stores on May 23.

“Our goal now, besides achieving additional openings, is to keep our businesses open by continuing to keep our curve flat by taking precautions and avoiding unnecessary risk,” Hagman said.

Hagman said pools at apartment complexes have also been allowed to reopen just in time for the summer heat. Plans for the Fourth of July are also in the works; firework displays by cities and groups will be allowed with social distancing precautions in place.

“You can not be huddled together at the park,” Hagman added.

Nail salons, gyms, bars, wineries and movie theaters are among the businesses that still remain closed.

Nearly 60,000 people have been tested for the coronavirus in the county, but test expansions continue.

Corwin Porter, the county’s assistant public health director, said work is being done to establish indoor testing sites countywide through the summer heat.

“We’re also looking at some smaller, mobile sites where we can get into certain communities that may not have as much access or have special needs or may be more risk for the virus,” Porter said. “

Porter also stressed the importance of residents continuing to practice social distancing, facial coverings and handwashing.

“We still really need to exercise appropriate precautions and do our part to not only protect our families, our loved ones but also those around us in our communities,” Porter said.

Business owners interested in the county’s compliance program can apply at sbcovid19.com through Aug. 31.

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