Now is not the time to visit Idyllwild, and sheriff’s deputies will be keeping a close eye on that community this weekend, county officials said Friday.
“I was deeply disturbed to learn that people blatantly defied the state and county stay-at-home orders last weekend and risked the health and safety of Idyllwild residents,” said Third District County Supervisor Chuck Washington, who represents the unincorporated community of Idyllwild on the Riverside County Board of Supervisors. “I’ve asked Sheriff Bianco to pay extra attention to the mountain areas this weekend and be on the lookout for non-essential visitors.”
Traveling during the COVID-19 crisis is not only risky – it is also prohibited. On April 6, the County of Riverside Public Health Officer banned all public and private gatherings of any size and ordered residents to wear face coverings outside of their homes. Violations of the order are punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 per violation per day or imprisonment.
The county order followed a state executive order requiring Californians to remain home “except as needed to maintain continuity of operations of the federal critical infrastructure sectors.” The permitted exceptions are listed here: https://www.rivcoph.org/Portals/0/Documents/CoronaVirus/FAQs_re_State_and_Local_Orders_Revised_4.4.20.pdf?ver=2020-04-04-174916-270&timestamp=1586047806809.
Sheriff Bianco echoed Supervisor Washington’s concerns and urged residents Friday to comply with the orders and remain in their own communities with their families.
“Please do it at home, do it in your own neighborhoods,” Bianco said in his online video message. “Avoid our mountain communities, parks and trails until this is over.”
Washington said his office has heard from numerous concerned residents, especially those who witnessed numerous visitors last weekend. With an estimated 2,500 residents, Idyllwild-Pine Cove does not have enough resources or medical services to provide for both residents and travelers. There is no hospital in the community and only limited groceries available.
Additionally, all short-term lodging facilities have been banned from operating until June 19 unless they are used to contain and mitigate COVID-19. Short-term lodging facilities include inns, hotels, motels, vacation rentals, timeshares and short-term rentals.
An explanation of the exceptions to the short-term lodging order can be found here: https://www.rivcoph.org/Portals/0/Documents/CoronaVirus/April/Riv-EOC_20200402_140602.pdf?ver=2020-04-03-123325-757&timestamp=1585942421867.
Non-essential businesses that are operating in violation of the County’s orders can be reported by emailing DOCLiaisonOfficer@rivco.org, calling 951-351-6866, at www.rivcoph.org/coronavirus or on the RivCoMobile app (available on iOS and Android phones).