Coronavirus Interview: Yucaipa Mayor David Avila

Apr 6, 2020

We continue our series of talking to local mayors about the coronavirus. Today, we have Yucaipa Mayor David Avila in conversation with KVCR’s Benjamin Purper.

To assist Empire KVCR News with local information connected to the coronavirus pandemic, former Press Enterprise columnist and longtime KVCR News contributor Cassie MacDuff has been connecting with local mayors to ask what they're doing to protect residents and help slow the spread of the virus. Yesterday we began with Riverside and today we move to San Bernardino. 

Coronavirus Interview: Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey

Apr 1, 2020

To assist Empire KVCR News with local information connected to the coronavirus pandemic, former Press Enterprise columnist and longtime KVCR News contributor Cassie MacDuff has been connecting with localmayors to ask what they're doing to protetc residents and slow the spread of the virus. She begins now with Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey. 

More from Mayor Bailey and the city of Riverside is online at 

With the coronavirus situation becoming more serious every day, we have some tips for you on how to utilize banking services during the pandemic. 

Jennifer Binkley is the President & CEO of Altura Credit Union in Riverside. She says if you’re losing income because of COVID-19, try not to panic.

With the coronavirus pandemic closing many small businesses, some owners of those businesses are asking politicians for help. But what about when a politician is a small business owner? 

Ronaldo Fierro is a Riverside City Councilmember representing the 3rd Ward. He owns the cocktail bar W. Wolfskill and the restaurant The Salted Pig, both in downtown Riverside. Due to the coronavirus and the governor’s stay-at-home order, the bar is closed, and the restaurant is only offering take-out.

Monday through Thursday at lunchtime, Empire KVCR News has your daily news rundown. Stories highlighted today include:

1) The number of coronavirus cases in San Bernardino County is now at 111, with 3 deaths.

2) Governor Gavin Newsom pardoned five people and commuted the sentences of 21 others on Friday, and one of those commutations was in San Bernardino County.

3) A worker at an Amazon facility in Eastvale has tested positive for the coronavirus.

San Bernardino County fire agencies are joining together to provide uninterrupted services during the coronavirus pandemic.

At a press conference in San Bernardino, county officials gave an update on how county fire agencies are working together to provide emergency services during the pandemic.

Eric Sherwin is a public information officer with the San Bernardino County Fire Department.

He says these incident management teams will coordinate the distribution of personal protective equipment for use in emergencies.

Today, the House of Representatives passed a historic 2 trillion-dollar economic recovery package to address the coronavirus pandemic. One of the congressmen who voted for this package was Democratic Representative Pete Aguilar, whose district includes San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga, and other cities in San Bernardino County. 

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, local preschools are dealing with more kids and less toilet paper. So how are they coping? 

Jennifer Carter runs the Oak Tree Learning Center in San Bernardino.

She says she’s seen an increase in kids at the preschool, as their parents – who maybe work jobs in the medical profession – are forced to work more hours.

Carter says there are major health concerns with all those kids together, as it’s hard for them to practice social distancing.

Riverside County health and emergency management officials received a federal medical station from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Wednesday morning, the California National Guard will be at the fairgrounds in Indio to set up a portion of the FMS in an existing building. 

Monday through Thursday at lunchtime, Empire KVCR News has your daily news rundown. Stories highlighted today include:

1) Rep. Pete Aguilar will hold a telephone town hall to provide an update on the federal response to the spread of coronavirus, and to share information about resources available to San Bernardino County residents affected by the virus.

2)  Members of the California National Guard have begun helping out at food banks up and down the state. Governor Gavin Newsom announced the deployment of the troops on Friday in response to the Covid-19 outbreak.

California health leaders want people to get insured so they can better cope with coronavirus-related Medical bills.

Medi-Cal announced Friday that it won’t bump people off their plans if they don’t renew their coverage on time. And Covered California, the state’s individual health exchange, is extending its special enrollment period past its April 30th end date.

Lee: “Effective immediately, anyone uninsured and eligible to enroll in health care coverage through Covered California can sign up all the way through the end of June.”

The owner of several small businesses in Redlands is calling for a bail-out for small businesses impacted by the coronavirus. 

Ryan Berk owns the ice cream shop A La Minute, the chocolate store Parliament Chocolate, and the Thai restaurant Aroi Mak Mak in Redlands.

He’s had to close all but the Thai restaurant, which is only offering to-go and call-in orders.

Berk: “I just don't feel comfortable with customers coming in being that close quarters, especially customers and our employees.”

With the coronavirus pandemic becoming more serious every day, what is Congress doing to help Americans affected by it? KVCR’s Benjamin Purper spoke with Congressman Mark Takano of Riverside.

Mark Takano says the Congressional response to coronavirus so far has been the Families First Act, which includes free coronavirus testing, expanded family and medical leave, paid emergency sick leave, unemployment benefits, and more.

Local food banks are struggling to keep up with increased demand after the coronavirus has impacted people’s livelihoods. 

Stephanie Otero is the CEO of Feeding America Riverside / San Bernardino.

She says that the coronavirus has led to a lot more people in need of a food bank.

Some census experts worry that the coronavirus pandemic could impact the 2020 census count.

As COVID-19 spreads throughout San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, some worry that it will make counting the two counties’ population in the 2020 census even harder.

Karthick Ramakrishnan is a professor of political science at UC Riverside and director of the Inland Empire Complete Count Committee.

He says the disruption caused by coronavirus can make people harder to count.

More and more economists are openly worrying that the coronavirus epidemic could plunge the U.S. into a recession. If it does come to that, how would it play out in the Inland Empire?

Dr. Manfred Keil is the Chief Economist at the Inland Empire Economic Partnership.

He says a potential recession would be very bad for the logistics industry, including the many warehouse workers whose livelihood depends on goods coming through the ports.

MaCall Potter / KVCR

On Tuesday, Loma Linda University Health and the World Affairs Council of Inland Southern California held an informational event on coronavirus. 

Dr. Adrian Cotton is the Chief of Medical Operations at Loma Linda University Health.

Cotton says there are different kinds of coronavirus.

The pneumonia-like Wuhan coronavirus has now been detected in Southern California. KVCR spoke to Dr. Brandon Grove, a family medicine physician with Monarch Healthcare in Anaheim Hills, about the virus and what you need to know. 

Monday through Thursday at lunchtime, Empire KVCR News has your daily news rundown. Stories highlighted today include:

1) California's monarch butterfly count remains critically low for the second year.

2) New cases of Wuhan coronavirus in Arizona and California bring the U.S. tally of the pneumonia-like disease to 5. 

3) California's unemployment rate held steady at the record low of 3.9% in December.