Martin Estacio | (Victorville) Daily Press
The Barstow City Hall lobby will remain closed to the public until next year amidst a COVID-19 outbreak among city staffers and a new stay-at-home order issued by California’s governor.
City Manager Nikki Salas told the Daily Press on Saturday that 15 employees across city departments have tested positive for the coronavirus, two more than were counted when offices were first closed on Monday.
“We sanitized the buildings but still have numerous staffers out ill and others (in) isolation pending test results,” Salas said. “Staff will work remotely wherever possible and provide virtual customer service.”
The lobby will remain closed until at least Jan. 4, according to Salas. She said the city’s main line – 760-256-3531 – will be staffed from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm Monday through Thursday during the closure. Residents can also visit https://www.barstowca.org/ for information and assistance.
Barstow joins other High Desert cities that have locked down as coronavirus cases have surged. Officials in Victorville announced the closure of all city-owned facilities on Friday after 23 employees tested positive for COVID-19 in the last two weeks.
The Town of Apple Valley announced it would close its offices starting Monday. That decision was made in response to Newsom’s regional stay-at-home order, according to spokesperson Orlando Acevedo.
San Bernardino County became the 10th county in the US to pass 100,000 cases, a milestone that has not been reached by 13 states, the Palm Springs Desert Sun reported.
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced earlier this week that the new stay-at-home order would be in effect for regions, or groups of counties, where the ICU bed capacity falls below 15%.
The state’s Department of Public Health reported Saturday that the Southern California region’s capacity – of which San Bernardino is part – was at 12.5%.
This means the order will go into effect at 11:59 pm Sunday and last at least three weeks.
As a result, gatherings with members of different households will be prohibited and essential retailers will be required to operate at no more than 20% capacity. Bars, lounges, and indoor and outdoor restaurant dining must shut down.
Barstow officials said the Barstow Police Department would “comply with the order and the law and respond to complaints on a case by case basis as required by the situation.”
Daily Press Managing Editor Matthew Cabe contributed to this report.