For the latest information on the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) in Kern County and Bakersfield, please visit the Kern County Department of Public Health's website, here.
There you can also find the KCDPH's new COVID-19 dashboard, which is updated daily. The dashboard shows all data the KCDPH can release about cases in Kern County.
Para obtener la información más reciente sobre el COVID-19 (nuevo coronavirus) en el condado de Kern y Bakersfield, visite el sitio web del Departamento de Salud Pública del condado de Kern, aquí.
Allí también puede encontrar el nuevo panel COVID-19 del KCDPH, que se actualiza diariamente. El tablero muestra todos los datos que el KCDPH puede divulgar sobre casos en el condado de Kern.
Governor Gavin Newsom on June 18 issued new guidance for all Californians when it comes to wearing face masks or coverings.
The City of Bakersfield encourages all residents to comply with this guidance and to wear a face covering when in public in order to limit the potential spread of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus).
The City is working to update its own internal policies in order to comply with the state's guidelines for face masks in public buildings. The City's buildings will remain open to the public as needed and while we encourage all residents to wear masks when social distancing is not possible in public, no customer will be denied service for not wearing a mask/covering.
The City will also have disposable masks available for customers while in public buildings where social distancing is not possible.
On April 29, 2020, the City of Bakersfield announced it will modify, postpone or cancel some upcoming meetings and events until further notice.
That includes modifications to the City Council meetings scheduled for Wednesday, May 6 (see below).
These changes do NOT impact the availability of essential services provided by the City, such as Police and Fire response, or trash, sewer and water services.
The City Council meetings scheduled for May 6 will be impacted, including limiting public access temporarily. Changes to those meetings can be viewed here.
The City appreciates the public's understanding and patience during this extraordinary health crisis.
The City of Bakersfield will implement temporary precautionary measures for the May 6 City Council meetings in order to help reduce the potential exposure to and spread of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus).
Consistent with the Governor's Executive Order N-29-20, Councilmembers may elect to attend the meeting telephonically and to participate in the meeting to the same extent as if they were physically present.
Public access to the meetings will be limited for both meetings on May 6.
The following measures will be implemented for those meetings:
Members of the public may view both meetings live online at https://bakersfield.novusagenda.com/AgendaPublic/.
Effective immediately, the City of Bakersfield has declared a local emergency in response to the COVID-19 health crisis following Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order (N-33-20) which includes a statewide stay-at-home order to all Californians.
City Manager Christian Clegg issued the declaration Thursday, March 19. The City Council ratified the declaration at the March 25 meeting.
The City encourages compliance with the Governor’s stay-at-home order.
As a result of the emergency declaration, the City will limit staffing to those who provide essential services only. City buildings housing essential services will remain open at this time, although some services may not be available on-site. The City asks members of the public who have business to conduct with the City do so over the phone, via email or online if possible. If your business can wait, please do so.
It is important to note that this declaration will not impact essential services such as Bakersfield Police and Fire Departments, as well as water, sewer and trash services. (See below list of services that will not be impacted)
Public health is of paramount concern for the City of Bakersfield and the City has already implemented significant measures to limit the possible spread of COVID-19.
Those precautionary measures – including the cancellation or postponing of nonessential events and gatherings – will remain in effect until further notice (updated: April 29).
City Staff continues working closely with the Kern County Department of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control, Kern County and the Office of Governor Newsom, receiving daily updates.
Services with no impacts
Starting March 27, the City of Bakersfield's Recreation & Parks Department closed all basketball, tennis and pickleball courts until further notice.
UPDATE (7/1/2020): Starting Monday, July 6, the pool at the McMurtrey Aquatic Center will re-open for lap swim only. The program will be available by appointment only. The slides and other amenities at the facility remain off-limits until further notice.
UPDATE (6/10/2020): On June 10, Recreation & Parks re-opened City-operated spray parks, with the exception of the spray parks at Mesa Marin Sports Complex and Saunders Park due to required maintenance. Those spray parks are expected to open as soon as that maintenance is completed. UPDATE (6/23/2020): All 10 City-operated spray parks are operational and open to the public.
UPDATE (5/13/2020): On May 13, Recreation & Parks re-opened pickleball and tennis courts to public use during normal park hours. Any visitors to these courts should adhere to all recommended social distancing guidelines and follow the guidelines posted at the courts in order to help prevent the possible spread of the coronavirus.
Basketball courts are still closed at this time and will remain so until further notice.
The City's parks remain open as they are an important amenity for the public during this health crisis. However, if you visit our parks, please remember to continue practicing social distancing as outlined by the Kern County Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control.
The National Recreation and Park Association has also issued guidelines for the public to remember when visiting any public parks and trails. You can find those here.
As of March 30, the City's Recreation and Parks Department has closed all playground areas and equipment, as well as exercise equipment until further notice.
If you're looking for ways to keep busy while complying with Governor Newsom's "stay-at-home" order, the City of Bakersfield Recreation & Parks Department has some suggestions.
Check out this list of staying at home resources, from workouts to kids activities and more!
We're in this together. We'll get through this TOGETHER.
The Governor's order asks that all Californians remain at home as much as possible for the foreseeable future.
The City encourages compliance with that order in the spirit of reducing the possible spread of COVID-19 in our community. The Governor's order does make allowances for certain businesses and services, deemed part of the Essential Critical Infrastructure, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency.
The Governor's Office has released a document outlining what services/industries are considered essential services and may remain open.
Kern County Department of Public Health also has resources explaining what essential services may remain open.
KCDPH has launched a new COVID-19 call center, open seven days a week to answer the public's questions about the novel coronavirus.
The number is 661-321-3000 and is available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week.
Members of the public can also contact the KCDPH's COVID-19 call center at 661-321-3000 if they see a nonessential business operating during the stay-at-home order.
Non-compliant businesses may also be reported online here.
The City of Bakersfield is in close communication with the Kern County Department of Public Health, the Office of Governor Gavin Newsom and the Centers for Disease Control for the most up-to-date information on the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) in our community.
Public health is a primary concern for the City of Bakersfield and following Governor Newsom’s Executive Order (N-33-20), the City is taking precautions to limit the possible spread of and public exposure to the virus.
It is important to note that ESSENTIAL City services such as the Bakersfield Police and Fire Departments, as well as Public Works, are continuing and will not be impacted by these temporary precautionary measures.
However, the Bakersfield Police Department has limited some nonessential services.
The City’s temporary precautionary steps include:
While Visit Bakersfield has temporarily closed its visitor center, staff is still available to answer questions and provide information visitors need.
While staff can't meet with visitors in person at this time, they are still able to provide service. Reach staff via email at Info@VisitBakersfield.com or by leaving a phone message at (661) 852-7282. Staff is monitoring the messages regularly and will respond promptly.Back to the Table of Contents
The Kern County Department of Public Health says the number of positive COVID-19 cases in Kern County has reached a threshold allowing them to release more details about those cases and where they are located.
As a result, the KCDPH has created a dashboard with data about confirmed cases throughout the county. The dashboard is available in English and Spanish and will be updated daily. It can be found on the KCDPH website.
KCDPH has also launched a new COVID-19 call center, open seven days a week to answer the public's questions about the novel coronavirus.
The number is 661-321-3000 and is available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week.
Members of the public can also contact the KCDPH's COVID-19 call center at 661-321-3000 if they see a nonessential business operating during the stay-at-home order.
The California Governor's Office recently released a new one-stop website for COVID-19 resources, including information on unemployment and paid sick leave, as well as small business assistance.
On April 1, Governor Gavin Newsom announced the "Stay Home. Save Lives. Check In." campaign, urging Californians to help combat social isolation and food insecurity among Californians 65-years-old and older, a community that is uniquely vulnerable to COVID-19.
The Governor also announced the creation of a statewide hotline in coordination with the non-profit local 2-1-1 systems to provide Californians with a one-stop shop to get answers to questions and get assistance during the COVID-19 health crisis. The hotline number is 833-544-2374. The 2-1-1 system can also help older Californians access grocery and medication delivery while staying at home.Back to the Table of Contents
On May 20, 2020, the Bakersfield City Council unanimously (7-0) approved an amendment to the City’s Special Event Permit process to help businesses comply with the state’s mandated social distancing requirements for reopening in Stage 2 of the state’s reopening plan.
The City has created a process for business owners to apply for a new "COVID-19 Special Event Permit" which will allow the business to temporarily close private parking lots throughout the City, or public streets and sidewalks in Downtown Bakersfield, in order to allow businesses to set up outdoor dining seating and/or retail vending areas each day.
This change is made possible through the City’s Emergency Declaration, issued on March 19, 2020. The COVID-19 Special Event Permit will be available throughout the duration of the Emergency Declaration.
Businesses wishing to take advantage of this assistance can apply for the permit here: https://bakersfieldcity.us/c19permit
Instructions for applying for this permit, as well as safety criteria are outlined here: https://bakersfieldcity.us/c19permit-howto
For any questions about the application process or the SEP, please call 661-326-3762 or 661-326-3753.Español:
Las instrucciones para solicitar este permiso, así como los criterios de seguridad se describen aquí: https://bakersfieldcity.us/c19permit-como
Para cualquier pregunta sobre el proceso de solicitud o el Permiso para eventos especiales, llame al 661-326-3762 o 661-326-3753.
On April 8, 2020, the Bakersfield City Council approved a business relief plan that will delay some taxes and fees owed by local commercial operations.
The plan, outlined below, was approved by a unanimous 7-0 vote:
The suspension of delinquent fees and interest is only temporary; balances for City charges for service will remain due in the future.
These actions will not affect the collection of sales or property taxes. Those taxes are not collected directly by the City of Bakersfield.
The City recognizes the potential hardships local businesses continue to face in light of the COVID-19 emergency. By taking the above actions, the City can help by providing temporary relief for businesses and residents in order to reduce the long-term impacts to the local economy. Staff continues to monitor the situation, and will develop additional resources and tools to address local business concerns as necessary.
The City of Bakersfield's Economic and Community Development Division has created a resources guide for local businesses impacted by the COVID-19 health crisis.
This guide includes information ranging from:
These resources will be updated as new information becomes available. Be sure to check for updates.
On April 8, the City Council unanimously approved a tax and fee relief proposal for local businesses affected by COVID-19.
The City of Bakersfield, the County of Kern, the Greater Bakersfield Chamber and the Kern EDC have joined together to establish the COVID-19 Business Resource Response Team. An emergency hotline has been created for the business community to ask any questions regarding their business needs and learn about resources their businesses may qualify for. You can reach the response team at 661-336-6860, or you can email email@example.com.
For more information, click here.
The California Small Business Development Center will be hosting free webinars to help businesses as they work through the COVID-19 health crisis.
For a list of upcoming webinars and to register, click here.
For a list of past webinars and other resources from the SBDC, click here.
The Greater Bakersfield Chamber has created a resource for local businesses to keep the public updated about their business status during the COVID-19 health crisis. Visit the Chamber's website and enter your business' status so it can be shared with the community.
There are also other resources for local businesses on the Chamber's website that may be helpful.
Employees and students working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic are in need of internet service more than ever as their work and education shift to their homes, rather than the office or classroom.
This guide provides details on available programs/support services provided by internet service providers and how you can qualify for them. Programs include free internet, waived late fees and no terminations.
Bakersfield Congressman Kevin McCarthy is providing updates on the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) health crisis on his congressional website as well.
That page can be found here and includes updates, as well as links to resources and other useful information on the ongoing situation.
On March 20, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) established a COVID-19 Rumor Control page on their website to clear up misconceptions about the virus. Visitors to the page will also find fact sheets and archived news releases.
The COVID-19 response pages are offered in both English and Spanish and can be found here:
SoCalGas will be making some temporary changes to some customer service operations in order to comply with guidance from public health officials.
The company will continue to make essential and emergency service appointments, including responding to reports of suspected natural gas leaks, carbon monoxide checks, gas meter turn-ons, natural gas outages and pilot re-lights.
But for now, some appliance check-ups and non-essential service calls such as inoperative pool heaters, barbecues and fire pits are suspended until further notice. Branch Payment Offices have also been temporarily closed, but there are alternative ways to make your payments.
SoCalGas has also suspended service disconnections until further notice, meaning no customer will have their natural gas turned off due to non-payment.
Customer service representatives are available 24/7 to answer questions, help with completing payments, or to determine if issues require immediate service or response.Back to the Table of Contents
I read/heard that Bakersfield got an “F” grade for social distancing. Most people I know are staying home. Are we really doing that badly?
A recent study by Unacast did initially give the Bakersfield metropolitan statistical area (MSA) an “F” grade on social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic response.
It is worth noting that the MSA for the study is not limited to Bakersfield alone, but includes all of Kern County, a much larger area than just the City limits.
More importantly, the low mobility score is at least partly due to the fact that two of our biggest industries – agriculture and oil, which are both considered essential by the state – require workers to travel farther than other employees. Also, due to the nature of the work, those employees are not able to work from home like those in other industries.
We are able to still social distance, while still carrying desperately needed goods to the rest of the state.
In fact, in other news it was estimated that because the City of Bakersfield provides essential services and has a mix of industries, we are the 13th-least likely City to be negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We are better positioned to weather the pandemic economically thanks to the industries our City and Kern County are home to.
Finally, Unacast has recently updated it’s grading system to account for this reality that general mobility does not tell the full story. They are now measuring an estimate for the number of non-essential trips and the number of personal encounters that take place within six feet. For both of these estimates, Bakersfield received a “B” grade, with 60-70% reductions in nonessential visits and 82-94% decrease in encounters density compared to the national baseline.
This means Bakersfield really is social distancing, and WE THANK YOU. These newer scores have raised the grade for the Bakersfield MSA to a “C+.” We can do more, and continuing to social distance is the single most important thing we can do to impact the spread of COVID-19. But we appreciate your efforts as a community to follow the Stay Home order and save lives.
We thank the public for being vigilant about social distancing and its impacts on flattening the curve during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Staying at home as much as possible will be and has been key in slowing the increase in number of coronavirus cases.
Will the City of Bakersfield enforce Governor Newsom's stay-at-home order?
Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-33-20 on March 19. That Executive Order included a statewide stay-at-home order for all Californians.
Anyone who does not perform or provide an essential service should remain at home until further notice. Residents may still go grocery shopping and to their medical appointments if necessary, but should avoid unnecessary trips into the public.
The City of Bakersfield is in full support of the Governor's stay-at-home order. City operations are in full compliance with the order. This is an issue that needs to be taken seriously. We ask the community to please stay home and stay well. The best way to comply with the Governor's order is for all of us to be responsible and considerate to one another. The Governor has asked all of us to use common sense and self-regulate to the established guidelines.
The public can contact the Kern County Department of Public Health COVID-19 call center at 661-321-3000 if they see a nonessential business operating during the stay-at-home order.
The City makes a commitment to keep the community safe and follow-up appropriately.
Are there other options for making payments to the City without having to go to City Hall North?
Yes! In an effort to reduce foot traffic to City Hall North (1600 Truxtun Avenue), the City Finance Department is asking residents to make the majority of payments that may be due - including certain taxes, licenses and fees - either through online portals or via the mail.
If you need help with these processes or have questions, please contact our Treasury Division at 661-326-3762.
You can make those various payments by following the appropriate instructions below:
**Please note: As a last resort option, the City will also accept credit card payments over the phone. You may reach us at 661-326-3762.
I have been hard hit financially by COVID-19 impacts. I can’t pay my City business license, utility bill, or tax payments; is there any way that I can get an extension for payment?
The City appreciates that these are difficult times and that many in our community are facing financial challenges. Payment extensions and delays are governed by the Municipal Code, meaning City staff has limited ability to administratively change payment timelines, this will require City Council action.
To date, the City has not taken specific action to delay payment timelines, but as COVID-19 impacts are continuing, staff are preparing payment extension options for City Council consideration at the May 6 City Council meeting.
In the meantime, we ask community members to make what payments they can, and staff will exercise discretion in pursuing payments and penalties until City Council action has been taken.
More detailed information will be provided as any action is taken.
Maintaining core City services does ultimately depend on the fees and revenues collected for those services, and repayment will be important, but we will look to create accommodations to do this over time.
We are all in this together and we want to support our residents and businesses through this time.
Will the police or fire departments still respond to emergencies? What about non-emergencies?
Both the Bakersfield Police and Fire Departments will continue to respond to emergency calls at this time. There is no change to those essential services.
Both departments will temporarily curtail nonessential services, programs and events, however.
The Bakersfield Police Department will also suspend lobby counter services at both the BPD Headquarters (1601 Truxtun Avenue) and the Westside Substation (1301 Buena Vista Road). The Department has made NO CHANGES to the types of calls they are responding to.
Whenever possible, however, if you are reporting a non-emergency or something that can wait, please contact the Department on the non-emergency phone line at 661-327-7111, or online.
Is the trash/recycling still going to be picked up?
Yes, your trash and recycling will still be picked up as normal. Solid Waste services are NOT affected by these temporary changes.
Click here to find out when trash/recycling pick up services are scheduled for your neighborhood.
I believe a business is price gouging customers during this crisis. How do I report that?
You can report suspected price gouging to the Kern County District Attorney's Office.
My event was postponed/canceled by the City. Can I get my money back?
The City will work with event organizers to find solutions such as application fee refunds or rescheduling the event for another date.
If you were planning to attend an event and had already purchased tickets, please contact the event organizers.
What about events/concerts at Mechanics Bank Arena?
Specific impacts to scheduled events at the Mechanics Bank Arena, Convention Center and Theater, as well as the Spectrum Amphitheatre will be determined by the facility manager, ASM Global. Any questions regarding event schedules or ticketing should be directed to ASM Global.
Will the City send home non-essential employees?
While all City employees are essential, we recognize community interest in ensuring that critical health and safety services continue to be provided. Police, Fire, Water, Sewer, Trash, Streets and other essential services will continue to be provided by City employees. It is also worth noting that City Hall and the Permit Center remain open.
However, the City is requesting that business and requests be carried out by phone or online as much as possible. The City is evaluating every job function of employees to ensure they can perform their duties with appropriate social distancing. The City will also create alternate work scenarios for those City functions that can be carried out by telecommuting or through flexible schedules to further assist with social distancing. The City is also accommodating leave requests for employees that have child care challenges during this period.
Will the City of Bakersfield declare a Shelter-in-Place policy?
The Executive Order from the Governor has already outlined social distancing practices that all residents and businesses should comply with. It is in everyone’s best interests to stay home when possible. When it is necessary to go out in public and conduct business, please practice social distancing and sanitation guidelines.
A more detailed “Shelter-in-Place” policy is a significant issue that the City would coordinate with the County and Public Health.
Will the City adopt an eviction/foreclosure moratorium?
Eviction and foreclosure processes are outside of City jurisdiction. This is a larger policy decision that the City would coordinate with the County and Housing Authority. In addition, it is worth pointing out that the federal government has announced an eviction/foreclosure moratorium for all housing that includes federal funding.
Governor Gavin Newsom has also announced (March 25, 2020) that the State of California has negotiated a 90-day grace period for mortgage payments, with no credit impacts or extra fees, and a moratorium on foreclosures during this period. This relief is available by requesting a forbearance from your mortgage company.