Restaurants all over town plastered signs last week about picking up to-go orders. The Red Kettle made sure their sign was easy to spot.  Photo by Jenny Kirchner 

By Melissa Diaz Hernandez and Jenny Kirchner 
Editor and Reporter/Photographer    

Last week the Town Crier gave an update on the status of COVID-19 within Riverside County and here in Idyllwild. By press time last week, Riverside County had 16 confirmed cases and two deaths. As of 12:15 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24, there are 59 confirmed cases and six deaths in Riverside County.  

There will be more confirmed cases as the number of people being tested increases. Currently, there are two drive-up COVID-19 testing sites — Lake Elsinore and Coachella Valley — in Riverside County that are by appointment only.  

Individuals can now screen symptoms and risk factors online at  projectbaseline.com/covid-19, and if eligible, participate in testing at the Diamond Stadium, which has been designated as a Community-Based Testing Site (CBTS), according to a Riverside University Health System – Public Health press release. CBTSs are California state-directed and federally supported testing centers. Residents may still call 800-945-6171 to make an appointment over the phone for the Lake Elsinore testing site but will soon be directed to the website for all appointments. All appointments for the drive-up testing site in the Coachella Valley will continue to be made over the phone with the same phone number 

The Idyllwild local who exhibited COVID-19 symptoms and contacted the county for testing was tested last week and is waiting for the results.  

Local entities update 

Fern Valley Water District: The office is closed to the public.   

Idyllwild Community Center: ICC has decided based on guidance from Riverside County and the Centers for Disease Control to close all of its programs (including sports, senior fitness and childcare), as well as the Farmers Market, at least through the month of March.   

Idyllwild Fire Protection District: The front office is closed to the general public, but all administrative operations will stay the same, such as building permits and inspections. The district is operating business as usual. When responding to calls where patients exhibit COVID-19 and flu-like symptoms, personnel will be using personal protective equipment. The patient will be handed a mask to put on themselves and personnel will then evaluate the patient in the back of the ambulance. If personnel need to go inside a residence, they will limit the length of time they are inside.  

Idyllwild Garden Club: The April 7 kick-off meeting is canceled.  

Idyllwild HELP Center and Thrift store: The store is closed until April 1 and not accepting donations at this time. The office will remain open for client services and food/supply donations from 10 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday by appointment only. This is subject to change. 

Idyllwild Library: The library is now closed to the public through April 30. All online services are still up and running. Library staff will be answering phones and will go to weekday hours only, but as of press time, those hours are uncertain. All books currently checked out are being automatically renewed through at least April 30.     

Idyllwild Pharmacy: Staff is assisting customers at the door and open for pharmacy purposes only. Hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and from 9 a.m. to noon on Sunday. Check the Idyllwild Pharmacy Facebook page for updates.  

Idyllwild Town Crier: The newspaper is still open, but our office is closed to the public. Printing, faxing and all in-person services are on hold until our office can reopen. For advertising information, contact Lisa Streeter (lisa@towncrier.com) or Mandy Johnson (mandy@towncrier.com) and for editorial questions contact Melissa Diaz Hernandez (melissa@towncrier.com). We’re answering the main phone line at 951-659-2145 during regular business hours: Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Newspapers will be available to purchase from a newsstand at our office at 54405 N. Circle Dr. 

Idyllwild Water District: The district’s office is open to the public by appointment only. 

Pine Cove Water District: The district’s office is open but staff is limiting contact and asking customers to put payments through the door.  

Riverside County offices: County buildings are closed to in-person visits. County government will continue to perform the vital services relied upon by residents and visitors. Visit county department websites, or call for assistance on how to complete requests online, over the phone or through the mail.  

Riverside County Parks: Riverside County Regional Park and Open-Space District (RivCoParks) is closing recreation facilities, nature centers, historic sites, Parks Headquarters, open-space areas and regional parks to the public. RivCoParks will work with guests who currently have camping reservations through April 30, 2020 or who seek same-day overnight accommodations and have no alternate options. Other guests who have reserved space for camping, day use and group functions will need to reschedule or cancel to a later date. Guests will be contacted with further instructions, and fees will be waived for rescheduling or cancellations. Visit the website www.RivCoParks.org 

State parks: All campgrounds have been closed until further notice. All current reservation holders affected by the temporary closures have received a notification from ReserveCalifornia of their cancellation and refunds will be provided. Non-campground outdoor areas of parks, including trails and beaches, remain open. Day-use restrooms also remain open, and visitors are advised to bring soap for handwashing and to use alcohol-based hand sanitizers when water is not available. 

Supervisor Washington’s Quarterly meeting: The supervisor’s office canceled the March 20 meeting at the library and is hoping to have the meeting on May 7.  

Grocery store supplier delivery schedules 

Fairway Market: Dry goods, meats, deli, frozen food, paper goods and candy are delivered on Tuesdays. Wine, FritoLay and eggs are delivered on Wednesdays. Meats, bread, milk and organic foods are delivered on Fridays. Produce is delivered Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  

Village Market: Produce is delivered Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Meat is delivered on Wednesdays and Fridays. Everything else is delivered on Fridays. 

 Restaurants 

(Note: This is information received as of press time.) 

Café Aroma is offering a 10% local discount. 

Ferro will reopen Friday, March 27 for to-go orders only.  

Idyllwild Brewpub will reopen Friday, March 27 for to-go orders only.  

Tommy’s Kitchen has created a pre-order menu that will offer meals that can easily be heated in the oven. Orders will be available for pick-up or if there’s a big enough order they will offer delivery for those. 

Restaurant Gastrognome is closed until further notice.  

All the following restaurants and food purveyors will be doing to-go orders: Candy Cupboard, Fratello’s, Idy Sushi Roll, Idyllwild Ice Cream & Jerky, Idyllwild Pizza Company, La Casita, The Lumber Mill, Mamma Mia Crepes & Desserts, Manzanita Cantina & Grill, Mile High Café, Mountain Center Cafe and The Red Kettle. (Businesses not listed could not be reached by press time.)  

Schools 

Idyllwild Arts Academy  

Students began returning home last Saturday. Virtual instruction will begin across four continents in April.    

Hemet Unified School District update  

(Press release information updated as of press time.) 

The county has ordered schools to be shut down through April 30. This is an extension of the initial April 13 Hemet Unified School District (HUSD) return date. This closure includes all extra-curricular activities, afterschool programs and district-sponsored events during this time. This closure may result in adding instructional days to the end of the school year if required by the California Department of Education.  

This closure is for precautionary measures and currently there are no known cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the district. These measures are to help slow the progression of the virus and protect our students, staff and community. 

Hemet Unified School District understands that school closure affects all families and is committed to addressing the needs of all our students. 

Instruction 

HUSD will provide guidance this week about supplementary resources, digital and non-digital, that can be used at home to review and reinforce knowledge and skills learned this school year. Students and families will not be required to use these resources but are welcome to do so.  

Nutrition 

During district closure, Nutrition Services will provide breakfast and lunch meals free of charge to children 18 years of age and under. Breakfast and lunch will be served at the same time Monday through Friday at every school location from 11 a.m. to noon at certain locations. It is a drive/walk-thru type of meal service. According to Principal Matt Kraemer, Idyllwild School will be providing breakfast and lunch meals from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 

For those driving, HUSD asks that you stay in your car and bagged meals will be provided for each child present. If you have students at multiple schools, you only need to visit one location. Children need to be present to get their meals. 

During this closure, all sites will be cleaned and disinfected as a precautionary measure.  

Students should stay home and minimize social contact as much as possible to keep our community healthy. In particular, HUSD asks parents and students to be mindful of the guidance to avoid activities involving large gatherings.   

The district realizes this is a time of uneasiness for many students and families, and HUSD will be in touch with additional updates via Parentlink and the district website (https://www.hemetusd.org/) before the end of the spring break recess. HUSD continues to keep safety as our number one priority and remains committed to the well-being of our students and staff.