After a couple of employees tested positive Tuesday for the coronavirus, and taking into consideration a spike in cases countywide, the city of Banning has closed off city hall to the public.

For the time being, city council meetings will be conducted online, and the public will only be able to participate in Banning’s civic meetings virtually.

“Precautionary measures are being taken, including closure of all City facilities to members of the public,” the city has declared in a statement, and went into effect on Wednesday.

Banning assures that municipal services will continue, and encourages residents to visit for additional information, or to call the city for assistance on how to complete requests online, over the phone or through the mail.

“The City of Banning facilities have been open to the public while many governments in Southern California have elected to remain closed,” the city explains in a press release. “Recent surges in positive cases of COVID-19, including some city employees, has increased concerns that an outbreak could critically impact City services,” and notes that many staff members are working remotely.

According to City Manager Doug Schulze, “Employees have tested positive over the past several months,” interspersed among various departments, with the latest two cases confirmed Tuesday.

A dozen other employees who were in contact with the two persons affected have been sent for testing; employees who test positive cannot report back to city hall until they have proof of a negative test, Schulze told the Record Gazette.

As of Nov. 17, there were 76,724 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Riverside County. Beaumont was reported to have 1,397 cases, with 1,207 recoveries, and 27 deaths. Banning had 890 confirmed cases, 740 recoveries, and 32 deaths. Cabazon had 74 confirmed cases, 65 victims recovered, and one death has been recorded. In Cherry Valley, there have been 117 confirmed cases, 97 recovered, and four deaths.


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