Big Sur COVID-19 meeting

COVID-19 Community response group meeting notes: 4/13/20

Supervisor District 5, Cal State Parks, US Forest Service, Big Sur Chamber of Commerce, Big Sur Health Center, Big Sur Fire, Big Sur CERT, Esalen and the Community Association of Big Sur met once again to continue coordinated efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Each organization provided an update on their current operations and preparations for continuing to shelter in place. 

It is important to note that as of this moment, there continues to be no known cases of COVID-19 in the Big Sur planning area. 

Big Sur Health Center:

Sharen Carey reports that a majority of patient visits still occur by telephone.  Those that need to physically be present to be evaluated or receive care at the Health Center must observe social distancing protocols and hygiene measures posted in English and Spanish at the entry. A plexi-glass screen has been installed at the reception desk, refining the effort to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.  Sharen wants people to know if you believe you have COVID-19 symptoms (Fever, difficulty breathing) to first call the HC at, (831-667-2580).  The Medical Staff will ask a series of questions that may lead to coming to the Health Center for a COVID-19 Test, utilizing the interview tent set up in front of the building, to evaluate your condition. Currently, results are coming back within 48 hours.

The Information below was provided last week by Sharen and is still pertinent and worth reposting:

There is a significant amount of disinformation regarding factors affecting the severity of sickness in individuals. • Contrary to anecdotal observations coming from France, there is no clinical support for the contention that Ibuprofen use worsens outcomes for those testing positive for COVID-19.• No studies support the contention that anti-malarial drugs are helpful in treating COVID-19.• Currently, there are no drugs or treatments to prevent transmission of the COVID-19 beyond self-isolation, social distancing and meticulous disinfection of surfaces that others use.  • Mask use in public is now recommended and a short video to make your own is below.• Best mask making material instructional video is below:• Bottom line defense against contracting the virus: Assume it is in Big Sur and take every precaution recommended above.

Big Sur Fire:

Matt Harris reports:• Call volume remains low, with most call outs on the South Coast.• Emergency Operations continue out of the Firehouse.• Burn season will conclude on April 30th.

Big Sur Chamber of Commerce:

Kirk Gafill reports:• Is continuing to use the Chamber email distribution list to push out relevant informational resources to assist employees and employers.• Business community is anxious to participate in planning the process for a return to commerce. • Proactive engagement with government officials and local and state Health Depts. Is critical to ensuring a smooth transition out of the strict SIP to opening up society in some fashion. This engagement will be crucial in order to insure the health and safety of workers, guests and the community at large.• Happy to report that 2 local businesses have already been approved for receiving Federal Payroll Protection Planfunding from area Banks. (2 months payroll)

Community Emergency Response Team:

Martha Karstens reports:• That the residents SIP survey is wrapping up.

Esalen Institute:

Lacy Shannon reports:• Esalen still closed until May 10th and potentially longer. Esalen will look to public health officials and guidelines as it considers re-opening timelines.


LPNF District Ranger Tim Short reports:• In an effort to address COVID-19 concerns, LPNF leadership is working through channels to enact a closure of the dispersed camping areas and access points of the Forest in the Monterey District. Approval process requires sign off from Regional and Washington based Agency decision makers. Office of General Counsel fine tuning the Forest Order closing these areas.• Forest Supervisor Kevin Elliott, Monterey County Supervisor Adams and Congressman Panetta in support of the closure.• Despite the closure of Sand Dollar day use area, USFS working on bringing in a dumpster to dispose of trash illegally dumped.• USFS working to establish Fire Fighting protocols in context with COVID-19 considerations.

Yuri Anderson, for Supervisor Adams, reports:• Working with County Public Works to support the USFS potential closure of the Trails and dispersed camping in the Monterey District of the LPNF.• Working to address the issue of short-term rentals in relation to the SIP order.

Ca. State Parks:

Superintendent Brent Marshall reports:• In alignment with both the Governors SIP order and the SIP order issued by Monterey County, CSP has expanded the existing closure of campgrounds to include all Day Use areas and parking areas in Big Sur area State Parks.• These closures to be maintained and enforced for at least the next 2 weeks with opening dependent of guidance from public health officials.• Parks working on messaging the closures both inside and outside of Monterey County.• Parks personnel have enough PPE for 3 weeks.  

Monterey County Sheriff:

Deputy Jesse Villasenor reports:• Closure of State Parks is consistent with the Local and State SIP order making enforcement somewhat easier to implement. • Primary hot spot for road-side camping has been the South Coast.• Jesse has been citing people for Trespassing and illegal camping in context with the SIP order. The Sheriffs Department is conducting County wide patrol at normal strength level.

Community Association of Big Sur:

Butch Kronlund reports:• That CABS is engaged in ongoing efforts to establish the scope of financial need for the most vulnerable members of the Big Sur community. That effort includes polling business owners on their plans to apply for Federal SBA loans and Payroll Protection Plan funding administered by local banks. So far, it appears that there is a role for CABS to play in deploying funds to those in most need and unable to apply for unemployment benefits.• CABS has applied for and received some grant funding from the Community Foundation for Monterey County and is also actively fundraising to support the least able to weather the financial stress brought about by lack of employment.• CABS has developed a needs assessment system reliant on working with each business’s HR Department.• CABS is pleased to report that Forest Supervisor Kevin Elliott has requested that the dispersed camping and backcountry trail heads in the Monterey District of the Los Padres National Forest be closed, consistent with state and local SIP guidance. Final approval pending Regional, Washington, and Office of General Counsel legal approval. Many thanks to LPN Forest Supervisor Elliott, District Ranger Short as well as support from Supervisor Adamsand Congressman Panetta in making this pivot.• In light of the delay inherent with the national state of emergency created by COVID-19, Monterey County, MCCVB, Beyond Green Travel and CABS have amended the completion date for the Big Sur Destination Stewardship Plan for up to 3 months. Target date for completion is now July 31, 2020.

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