March - Covid-19


COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Alerts

APRIL 2020   -   MAY 2020    -    JUNE 2020    -    JULY 2020


March 31, 2020

New public health recommendation to cover the face

Riverside County SealRiverside County health officials are recommending residents cover their nose and mouth when leaving home for essential travel to doctor appointments, grocery shopping or pharmacy visits.

The face coverings do not have to be hospital grade but need to cover the nose and mouth. For example, bandanas, fabric masks and neck gaiters are acceptable. Fabric covers and bandanas can be washed and used again.

Up until now, local officials have not recommended the large-scale use of face coverings, but circumstances have changed.

“When the situation changes, the rulebook changes,” said Dr. Cameron Kaiser, Riverside County public health officer. “We’re seeing our numbers increasing even sooner than we predicted and that means our strategy must change too. Covering your face doesn’t change the orders everyone must abide by to stay home as much as possible and maintain social distancing, but it’s an extra layer of protection that I think we need to add.”

The rationale for covering one’s face comes from the belief that transmission occurs primarily through droplets from an infected individual, which fabrics can easily filter. This not only helps to reduce the risk a well person can breathe those droplets in, but also protects others around someone with mild symptoms who may not yet realize they have the illness. Face covering should be worn anytime a person is outside of their home, even in offices of essential businesses.

“The numbers don’t lie and we know that coronavirus is spreading and growing. However, these numbers are actual people and protecting the lives of people is all of our responsibility,” said Board Chair V. Manuel Perez, Fourth District Supervisor. “That means that flattening the curve requires another layer of aggressive protection against the virus. Please take the additional steps to cover your face.”

Health officials continue to stress that frequent hand washing, social distancing and staying home are the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“Stay in your place, maintain your space and cover your face,” said Bruce Barton, director of the Riverside County Emergency Management Department.

*Flash reports will be provided as information becomes available and conditions warrant.


March 30, 2020

25085323910_8e252f43c3_mMedical donations and medical volunteers
needed to prepare for COVID-19 surge

Jose Arballo Jr. Senior Public Information Specialist
(951) 712-3705

Brooke Federico Riverside County Public Information Officer
(951) 743-0075

Riverside County is seeking urgent medical supply donations and medical volunteers to continue its fight during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The incoming surge is not fake nor a hoax. It is real and we have to be as prepared as possible,” said Riverside County Board Chair and Fourth District Supervisor V. Manuel Perez. “The need for medical volunteers and medical donations is critical at this point. I have heard from many hospitals and they are all concerned about resources and staffing. Your donations and volunteerism will be greatly appreciated.”

The Riverside University Health System (RUHS) created a list for urgent supplies. Some of those items include: ventilators, cardiac monitors/portable tele system, masks (including, surgical, N-95 or handmade), personal protective equipment (which includes hoods and face guards, filters), isolation gowns and gloves.

RUHS is also in need of physicians, nurses, pharmacists, assistants and technicians able to volunteer. Only licensed practitioners or students pursuing degrees in any of these areas may be medical volunteers. 

A complete list of items and how to donate or volunteer can be found here: Look for the donate and volunteer buttons on the right-hand side of the page. 

RUHS-Public Health Director Kim Saruwatari said the medical supply issue hit every county nationwide. As the region’s hospitals brace for an oncoming surge, the need is critical for supplies.

“We want to thank those businesses and individuals willing to donate and volunteer to help us battle this coronavirus,” Saruwatari said. “The generosity is appreciated – and definitely needed. We’re all in this fight together. Together as a community, we’ll get through this.”



SoCalGas Warns Customers About the Rise of Utility Scams During COVID-19

1200px-SoCal_Gas_logo.svgUtility provides tips for identifying suspicious behavior
LOS ANGELES, March 27, 2020 – Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) today reminded customers to be on alert for potential scams targeting utility customers during the COVID-19 outbreak. One common scam involves telling customers they must pay their gas bill immediately or their natural gas service will be disconnected. SoCalGas does not call customers seeking payment. Additionally, on March 13, the utility announced it had suspended service disconnections for customers who are struggling to pay their bills until further notice. This decision was made to support the health, safety and wellness of our customers during this crisis. SoCalGas is providing the following tips on how to recognize and respond to these scams:

Be on the lookout for these common scam tactics:
• Caller ID spoofing with calls that appear to be coming from SoCalGas. The caller may try to sell products, collect personal information, or collect payment on your gas bill. Please note that SoCalGas will never ask for payment through the phone.
• Phishing emails, texts and social media posts with malicious attachments asking you to send personal information or money to another entity.
• Utility imposters appearing at your place of residence or business demanding payment. 

How to protect yourself:
• Never provide your personal information such as social security numbers, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, or share names and passwords with anyone claiming to be a utility representative.
• Always ask to see a SoCalGas photo ID badge before letting someone inside your home. All SoCalGas employees on company business are required to carry a badge.
• Customers are encouraged to verify the employee’s uniform and identification. Most of our authorized employees will always be in a uniform with our company logo, carry an official employee badge, and drive a company car. SoCalGas employees will always be happy to wait while the customer confirms their identity.
• Customers can always check the status of their SoCalGas account or pay their latest bill by logging on to My Account.

Customers who have questions about their experience with a SoCalGas representative should immediately contact SoCalGas customer service at 800-427-2200. Our customer service representatives are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Visit for additional tips and information about scams.

We understand this is a challenging time for us all. Rest assured, your natural gas service will be there for your community. We will continue to make safety and emergency service appointments, including reports of suspected natural gas leaks, carbon monoxide checks, gas meter turn-ons, natural gas outage and pilot re-lights. SoCalGas will also continue work needed to safely and reliably maintain our infrastructure so we can continue to provide you with safe and essential energy services.

Additional information about SoCalGas’ response to COVID-19 is available here.

About SoCalGas
Headquartered in Los Angeles, SoCalGas® is the largest gas distribution utility in the United States. SoCalGas delivers affordable, reliable, clean and increasingly renewable gas service to 21.8 million customers across 24,000 square miles of Central and Southern California, where more than 90 percent of residents use natural gas for heating, hot water, cooking, drying clothes or other uses. Gas delivered through the company’s pipelines also plays a key role in providing electricity to Californians— about 45 percent of electric power generated in the state comes from gas-fired power plants.

SoCalGas’ vision is to be the cleanest gas utility in North America, delivering affordable and increasingly renewable energy to its customers. In support of that vision, SoCalGas is committed to replacing 20 percent of its traditional natural gas supply with renewable natural gas (RNG) by 2030. Renewable natural gas is made from waste created by dairy farms, landfills and wastewater treatment plants. SoCalGas is also committed to investing in its gas delivery infrastructure while keeping bills affordable for our customers. From 2014 through 2018, the company invested nearly $6.5 billion to upgrade and modernize its pipeline system to enhance safety and reliability. SoCalGas is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), an energy services holding company based in San Diego. For more information visit or connect with SoCalGas on Twitter (@SoCalGas), Instagram (@SoCalGas) and Facebook.


Riverside County! Need (NonMedical) Help during the COVID-19 Crisis?
Call Now for Help! 24/7!

Riverside County Coronavirus Info Line - 211

Riverside County Crisis and Suicide Helpline - 951-686-HELP

Riverside Area Rape Crisis Center Hotline - 951-686-7273

Childhelp Child Abuse Hotline - 1-800-4ACHILD

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 1-800-273-TALK

Nat ional Domestic Violence Hotline - 1-800-799-SAFE

Trevor Line for LGBTQIA+ Youth - 1-866-488-7386

Crisis Text Line - Text Home to 74174

Senior Citizen Crisis & Talk Line - 800-971-0016

CONTACT (Loneliness) Helpline - 800-932-4616


March 27, 2020

City Hall Contact information during Covid-19 shut down

Submittals to be emailed:

Pick up or Delivery: (951) 922-3139

Inspections or Permit Questions: (951) 922-3132

Fees: Drop off a check in our Utility Billing Dropbox which is located
inside the Banning Police Department parking lot
drop boxOr mail a check to the following:
Banning City Hall
Community Development Department
99 E Ramsey St.
Banning, CA, 92220

March 26, 2020

Small Business Administration (SBA) Loan Funding for Small Businesses Affected by COVID-19

Action: Use this information (pass it along) to help your small businesses recover

With the State of California’s economic injury assistance declaration, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is making available loan funds to help small businesses and private, non-profit organizations recover from “economic injury.” Loan proceeds can be used to pay for rent, payroll, accounts payable, etc.

Small businesses may want to explore this funding as a way to recover from losses they experienced due to COVID-19. Loan applications are submitted via an online portal and it is very easy to establish an account and start the loan application process.

This is the link to get started:

The deadline to apply for an “Economic Injury” Disaster Loan is December 16, 2020.

Eligible applicants: If you have suffered substantial economic injury and are one of the following types of businesses located in a declared disaster area, you may be eligible for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL):

  • Small Business
  • Small agricultural cooperative
  • Most private nonprofit organizations

Assistance is available only to small businesses when SBA determines they are unable to obtain credit elsewhere.

Loan amounts:

  • As a business of any size, you may borrow up to $2 million for physical damage.
  • As a small business, small agricultural cooperative, small business engaged in aquaculture, or private non-profit organization you may borrow up to $2 million for Economic Injury.
  • As a small business, you may apply for a maximum business loan (physical and EIDL) of $2 million.

Eligibility and Terms: Eligibility for Economic Injury Disaster Loans is based on the financial impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The interest rate is 3.75 percent for small businesses. The interest rate for private non-profit organizations is 2.75 percent

Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email (link sends e-mail) for more information on SBA disaster assistance. Individuals who are deaf or hard‑of‑hearing may call (800) 877-8339. Completed applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

Incident period: January 31 , 2020 and continuing



March 24, 2020


The City of Banning has temporarily suspended water and electric shutoffs due to non-payment and will not be imposing late payment penalty fees on accounts at this time. If you have any questions regarding your account, please call Utility Billing Customer Service at 951-922-3185 – Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Or email City staff at Staff is working as quickly as possible to assist all customers with their questions and concerns. City Hall will remain closed until further notice.


March 23, 2020


I wanted to send out an update as there are a great deal of changes to our current programs and services and as you are aware, the circumstances and health orders are ever changing but as of now, the following is the most current update.

The Senior Center and Community Center is currently closed like all of our public facilities and programming has been suspended or canceled indefinitely. It is expected that this could be the case until April 30th or later. We are communicating daily through emails, phone and social media with our patrons.

Most of our full time staff are working from home and we have staff members that are answering phone calls directed to the Senior Center, community Center or Transit during our regular working hours.

Some programmatic updates:

Senior Center

  • Daily Meal program - The Senior Center is closed and all social programs and activities at the Center have been canceled. We are still providing daily meals for Seniors through Food Service Association(FSA). FSA will be providing meal packages one day a week; Next week, the pickup day will be on Wednesday between 11am and 1pm. Regular attending seniors will be able to pick up 5 days worth of prepared frozen meals, milk, bread and possibly fruit each week.
  • Fill the Cupboard Food Pantry- We also have a food pantry where we can provide a bag of non-perishable food to those seniors in need as well. This program is available on Monday and Wednesdays from 9:30 am to 11:30 am. We are accepting donations to the food pantry at this time but this is only done through appointments – those interested in donations can call our Senior Center number (951) 922-3250 to schedule a drop off time.
  • Daily Greeter program – Our staff is calling our regular attendees every day or other day and checking on them and connecting them with needed services when asked and possible. The staff was able to contact 44 Seniors Wednesday, 42 seniors on Thursday and the impact has been substantial as they appreciate the interaction and we have been able to connect them to social services and churches to aid in some of their needs.
  • We are working on potential for live interaction via Facebook with the Seniors and hope to put something in place next week

Recreation Programming

  • We have canceled all classes for March and April as well as our sports programs, Youth Soccer and Smart Start peewee sports. We will be able to reschedule the pee wee sports program whenever we are released from the health orders but youth soccer will more than likely not be offered again until next spring. We are looking to start again with classes in May and hopefully we will be able to offer at least one soccer camp in the summer or late spring.
  • We started posting activities for kids on Facebook beginning yesterday and we will be posting daily activities and interactive ideas to communicate with our citizens and offer some interaction during our closure. We are looking at working with our instructors to create content and perhaps offer free instructor classes as well. We should have an update on this next week or two.


  • We have canceled all of our large scale events scheduled thru April 30th.

Little League and Banning United Soccer

  • Little League has postponed all activities until at least May 11th
  • Banning United Youth Soccer has suspended their program through April 30th

Parks and Facilities

  • All Facility rentals indoor and outdoor scheduled for the month of March or April have been canceled and we are not taking new reservations until the situation changes.
  • With the Governor’s order last night to have Californian’s stay at home, we have closed the bathrooms in our parks. Our park’s staff are making daily inspections of the parks and will be ensuring there are no safety issues and reporting as necessary.

I will continue to send out updates to ensure you are apprised of our operations and when there are changes to the situation.

We will continue to monitor the situation and will be providing regular updates on the Department’s Facebook page as well.

If you have any questions regarding this update or anything else, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Thank you,
Ralph Wright, CPRP
Parks and Recreation Director


March 20, 2020

City of Banning - Proclamation of Local Emergency



From the desk of the City Manager, Doug Schulze

More information about  2019 Novel Coronavirus is available at:



Coronavirus is an evolving public health issue and we want you to know that your health, safety and well-being are of the utmost concern to the City of Banning. Citing public health recommendations during the novel coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak, City of Banning Utility Billing and Customer Service is urging anyone doing business with the City to do so by telephone, email or online as the City implements social distancing practices to reduce the risk of spread of the virus.

For any account related questions or needs including new service applications, please contact city staff by phone or email. For new service connections, staff will obtain the necessary information from the new customer and use alternative means to get the required documentation and process complete to quickly set up new services. Please call Utility Billing and Customer Support at 951-922-3185 to start the process. The City will be suspending shut offs for 14 days while the community adjusts to the impacts of coronavirus and will reassess the need for a continued limitation on shut offs as information develops.

drop boxPayments on accounts can made online or by utilizing the payment drop box in the drive through area located at the rear parking area at City Hall, 99 E. Ramsey Street.

The City of Banning’s Utility Billing and Customer Service phones are staffed from Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 951-922-3185. We also strongly encourage the use of email to contact department staff at Please know that the Utility Billing and Customer Service team remains committed to providing the highest level of service to our customers.


The City of Banning has temporarily closed various facilities until further notice

City Facility Closures:  The Lobbies of City Hall, the Police Department, Banning Electric, the Community and senior centers and other city facilities are closed until further notice.

Utility Billing & Customer Service Desk – City of Banning Utility Billing and Customer Service is urging anyone doing business with the City to do so by telephone, email or online as the City implements social distancing practices to reduce the risk of spread of the virus.

For any account related questions or needs including new service applications, please contact city staff by phone or email. For new service connections, staff will obtain the necessary information from the new customer and use alternative means to get the required documentation and process complete to quickly set up new services. Please call Utility Billing and Customer Support at 951-922-3185 to start the process.

Payments on accounts can made online or by utilizing the payment drop box in the drive through area located at the rear parking area at City Hall, 99 E. Ramsey Street.

The City of Banning’s Utility Billing and Customer Service phones are staffed from Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 951-922-3185. We also strongly encourage the use of email to contact department staff at

Please know that the Utility Billing and Customer Service team remains committed to providing the highest level of service to our customers.

Police Department – The Banning Police Department lobby is closed. Individuals in need of assistance are asked to utilize the call box located at the entrance to the lobby. Livescan services and ride-alongs will be suspended until further notice. Residents may utilize the non-emergency phone number at 951-922-3170 for questions. There is no impact to 911 Emergency service.

Public Works Field Operations – Maintenance crews for parks, streets and wastewater will continue their regular duties. Public service requests can be submitted online at and will be prioritized to limit exposure to City employees.

 Building/Encroachment Permits and Inspections – The building permit window will be closed to the public. Permits may be submitted online or by mail. Inspectors will only conduct site walkthroughs if the sites/areas to be inspected are cleared. For public works permits, plan submittals/reviews and inspections please contact Edith Garcia, Office Specialist at 951-922-3130 or email the Public Works Department at

 Transit – Reduced schedules have been implemented. Please visit the Transit Webpage for more information regarding schedule changes:

Planning & Building Permits and Inspections – City building and planning counter services will be closed to the public until further notice. Planning applications, and Building Permits may be submitted by emailing the application(s), plans, & reports to the following email address:

If necessary, please use a file transfer link to submit documents.

Building & Fire Inspectors will only conduct site walkthroughs if the sites/areas to be inspected are cleared of all persons prior to the inspection time Customer service representatives are available by phone at (760) 219-2791.

If you need immediate assistance you please email the Community Development Director at”

Parks & Recreation - All recreation and Senior Center programs, are suspended until further notice and all recreation facilities, including the Banning Senior Center, will be closed. City Parks will remain open to the public during the daylight hours.

Sports Programs, including Youth Soccer and our Smart Start Pee Wee Sports Program will be rescheduled to start at a later date.

Meals for Seniors - FSA (Family Service Association) will still provide meals for Seniors, however it will be distributed in a weekly meal package consisting of five frozen meals, milk, bread, and fruit. Meals will be distributed at the Banning Senior Center between 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM Tuesday thru Thursday. Meal packages are limited to one package per customer, per week.

The Disaster Survival Expo, scheduled for April 4th, has been cancelled.

We will continue to monitor the situation and will be providing regular updates on the Department’s Facebook page.

For information regarding Parks and Recreation Services, please contact 951-922-3242.
For information regarding Senior Services, please contact 951-922-3250.

City Council Meetings:
City Council Meetings will continue to be held, however participation by the community will be via email. The meeting will be available at and on Charter cable channel 10, and Frontier Channel 29. Comments/questions are to be emailed to the City Clerk, Sonja De La Fuente at Please indicate if its public comments or reference the agenda item number.

For information on school closures please visit the School District’s website:
Banning Unified School District



Banning Unified Schools will be closed beginning March 16 through April 3rd. Saturday School on March 14th will still be in session.

From the Banning Unified School District Website:

The Banning unified School District is aware of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The Banning Unified School District is working with the Riverside University Health System to keep updated on new developments or precautions the District may need to take. The health and safety of our students and staff is of the utmost importance, and we would like to provide our students, parents and staff with the following information. As with any virus or flu, you can take a number of steps to protect your health and those around you. These everyday habits can help prevent the spread of viruses.
• Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. • Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands. • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. • If you need to cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue and throw the tissue away immediately. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands. • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. If you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too. • Students who have fevers and coughs or any other flu-like symptoms should stay home until they are symptom-free for 24 hours without medication.
If you have traveled recently to Wuhan, China, or have been in close contact with a person with or suspected to have the Novel Coronavirus 2019 and are experiencing signs and symptoms similar to having the flu, please seek medical attention immediately. For more information on the Novel Coronavirus 2019 visit:

Riverside University Health System, Public Health
California Department of Public Health 
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The County of Riverside Emergency Management Department (EMD) has also established a public call center to support efforts with community information-sharing: (951) 358-5134.


Riverside County public health officer
orders large events canceled

Order follows guidelines issued by State of California

 Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser today ordered the cancellation of public gatherings of 250 people or more in Riverside County as a means of slowing the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The order mirrors recommendations issued Wednesday evening by the California Department of Public Health.

“These restrictions may seem harsh, given the relatively low number of coronavirus cases in Riverside County, but they are necessary if we are going to stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Kaiser, who Sunday declared a public health emergency after announcing the county’s first locally acquired COVID-19 case.

“I do not take these restrictions lightly and clearly they will impact many in organizations and individuals in the community. We’re in this together and I believe they’re necessary to slow and eventually stop the spread of COVID-19.”

Dr. Kaiser said county health officials had previously been working with community partners to establish guidelines for public gatherings.

Riverside County has seven confirmed cases – five in Coachella Valley and two cruise ship passengers who have not returned to the region since being diagnosed. Dr. Kaiser urges seniors and those with underlying health issues in the Coachella Valley to limit non-essential travel. One of the Coachella Valley cases is considered “community spread,” meaning health investigators have not determined the source of the infection.

County health officials are working with local school, city and nonprofit organizations to provide guidelines on how the new restrictions will be implemented.



Use These Economic Development Resources for You and Your Community

CALED recognizes that as economic developers, you are the leaders in your communities and play an important role in providing good information to help your residents and businesses feel safe.

Below are resources that will be helpful as you work in your community:

GO-Biz website with information regarding State resources for employers & employees

The latest Coronavirus information from the CA Department of Public Health

Information from VisitCA on impacts, talking points, and media statements

A COVID-19 Preparedness Checklist provided by accounting firm WIPFLi LLP

Recording of March 10th GO-Biz Coronovirus Call

CA Employment Development Department website with resources for workers & employers

League of CA Cities webpage with resources for Cities

We continue to closely monitor this situation and will notify you of any other resources and important information to help you support your local economy.