Public Health Discusses New Health Order and Beach Closure

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Public Health Discusses New Health Order and Beach Closure
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Dr. Van Do-Reynoso during Thursday's press conference

By edhat staff

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department (PHD) discusses their new order to close indoor business sectors and beaches ahead of the holiday weekend.

During a press conference on Thursday, County Supervisor Gregg Hart expressed his concern for the increase in COVID-19 cases. On Wednesday PHD reported 268 new cases and on Thursday an additional 111 cases were added bringing the total to 3,275.

"This week has been particularly difficult as yesterday there was a very significant spike in local positive COVID-19 cases. The very large number of new positive cases reported is potentially the first indicator of a very serious problem," said Hart. 

Governor Gavin Newsom had already ordered the closure of all bars and indoor operations for Santa Barbara County on Wednesday. PHD followed up with a formal health order announcing these closures as well as deciding to close all beaches. 

PHD Director Dr. Van Do-Reynoso stated the Governor will be taking action if local COVID-19 rates continue and their department will have no other option but to comply. PHD can issue stricter guidance than what the state allows, and they are currently evaluating these options, she said.

While local agencies are pushing towards education for residents and businesses who fail to follow these orders, Supervisor Hart warned that state agencies such as Alcohol Beverage Control could be used. Additionally, public health inspectors have issued violations and will continue to investigate claims of businesses who are not following guidelines. Community members are encouraged to call 833-688-5551 on businesses that are not following protocol. 

The Beach Closure

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department (PHD) has reversed course and announced the beaches will close through the July 4th weekend.

Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg issued a health officer order requiring all beaches to be closed to the public during the July 4th weekend.  This order is effective from 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 3, 2020 and continuing until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, July 5, 2020.

PHD stated this order is being issued in response to Santa Barbra County not meeting the threshold criteria for Elevated Disease Transmission, Increasing Hospitalization, and Limited Hospital Capacity for the past 16 days as noted in the County Monitoring Metrics. However, just days earlier when the county was still not meeting the threshold criteria, PHD announced beaches will remain open. There was pushback from numerous residents and suggestions by Governor Gavin Newsom for local officials to close beaches.

Sheriff Bill Brown confirmed that deputies will be patrolling beaches and trailheads as well as parking areas adjacent to beaches.


Read more on the closure here.

The New Health Order

Santa Barbara County Health Officer, Dr. Henning Ansorg has issued a Health Officer Order mandating the closure of multiple business sectors that promote the mixing of populations beyond households and create environments where physical distancing and wearing face coverings is difficult.  This guidance is effective at 5 p.m. on Thursday, July 2, 2020 and will continue until 5 p.m. on July 26, 2020 or until it is extended, rescinded, superseded, or amended in writing.

At the direction of the California Department of Public Health and by mandate of the health officer order the following business sectors must close:

  • Bars, breweries, pubs, and brewpubs, including bars located at permitted indoor and outdoor food facilities;
  • Nightclubs, including private social clubs; and
  • Indoor operations of Dine-in restaurants, Wineries and Tasting Rooms,
  • Indoor operations of Family Entertainment Centers, Movie Theaters, Zoos and Museums, and Cardrooms

Outdoor operations of the above listed sectors, except for bars, breweries, pubs and brewpubs, may remain open with strict physical distancing protocols in place.

“We have made the decision to close these businesses in order to follow State guidance, especially since our case count continues to rise day by day. This action, particularly in anticipation of the holiday weekend, is a proactive measure to curb the spread of COVID-19 locally,” said Dr. Henning Ansorg.

The full Health Officer Order can be found here

The Latest Numbers

PHD is reporting 111 new COVID-19 positive cases on Thursday. Of the 111 new cases, 64 are hospitalized with 20 in the intensive care unit (ICU). Approximately 55% of call cases are due to person-to-person transmission, 44% is community-acquired, and 1% is due to traveling outside the county.

Dr. Do-Reynoso confirmed Santa Barbara County has not met the state's criteria set as a benchmark to further reopen business sectors for the past 17 days.

PHD is revising its data dashboard to reflect metrics that describe cases in the county as well as including the metrics of symptomatic and asymptomatic cases and the spread of transmission. 

The data will be available here once it's updated.

Sheriff Announces Increase of Staff COVID-19 Cases

On Wednesday, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's office announced four employees tested positive for COVID-19. During Thursday's press conference, Sheriff Bill Brown announced two more employees had also tested positive.

Overall, 321 inmates out of the total 578 have been tested for COVID-19. There are 139 negatives, 178 pending, 1 inconclusive and retested, and 4 inmates who tested positive.

Of the four inmates, one has been released on bail and one has been released on their own recognizance. Sheriff Brown confirmed both inmates received educational information on COVID-19 before their release. One inmate has recovered and one inmate is in isolation under medical supervision. 

Currently, 340 staff members have been tested with 310 being negative, 9 pending, and 21 tested positive. Of the positive tests, 6 recovered and returned to work, 1 is hospitalized, and 14 are isolating at home.


For more information on local cases, visit

For a state situation overview, please visit the California Department of Public Health webpage:

For a national situation overview, please visit the CDC 2019 Novel Coronavirus webpage:

For a global situation overview, please visits the WHO COVID 19 Situation Dashboard-

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puppyluv Jul 06, 2020 12:00 PM
Public Health Discusses New Health Order and Beach Closure

Regarding a prudent and necessary pull back on hotels and short term vacation rentals, reservations can be, and have been cancelled, given the health risk/benefit analysis. Miami-Dade, Florida's largest county, just reimplemented their restriction on Airbnb's and short term vacation rentals, effective Wednesday. This is a good idea local leaders. Carp? SB? Anyone home?

GeneralTree Jul 03, 2020 11:43 AM
Public Health Discusses New Health Order and Beach Closure

From Cottage Hospital “In the past few weeks, the number of laboratory tests ordered and collected by Cottage Health has remained steady at about 2,500 per week, while the weekly percent of positive results has grown from 3.9 to just over 6.2 percent, and yesterday’s positive results were 8.7"

Shasta Guy Jul 03, 2020 09:42 AM
Public Health Discusses New Health Order and Beach Closure

Per the CDC, the 1918 Spanish Flu killed about 675,000 Americans when our population was just over 100 million. That would be the equivalent of just under 2.1 million deaths today with our current population of 330 million. So far COVID-19 has killed 0.13 million Americans, or ~132,000. This is just for perspective.

Ahchooo Jul 03, 2020 12:34 PM
Public Health Discusses New Health Order and Beach Closure

Chip, were all gonna die, so why not just get it over with a bit sooner, eh? That’s nuts. Lots of people’s lives have been cut short. Some were not so old. Many suffered and many are left with debilitating issues. We don’t need to panic and wail and moan, but don’t downplay the huge impact of this virus.

a-1593797307 Jul 03, 2020 10:28 AM
Public Health Discusses New Health Order and Beach Closure

I lost a loved one to the disease and had a close friend's child hospitalized to it. Sorry you are so thick you don't understand what is going in around you. In the movie Ground Hogs Day, Bill Murray's character broke the cycle when he started focusing on helping others and stopped focusing on himself. There is a public health crisis underway and some of you just troll, but I guess those that served and died paved the way for you to troll anonymously act like an arse on our Independence Day.

Chip of SB Jul 03, 2020 09:56 AM
Public Health Discusses New Health Order and Beach Closure

Good point Shasta. I think it is also important to note the majority of those who have died from the corona virus would have died this year from old age and other health conditions in the absence of the corona virus.

Luvaduck Jul 03, 2020 08:10 AM
Public Health Discusses New Health Order and Beach Closure

So many thoughtful comments. It gives me hope, something desparately necessary in such times. It's awfully easy to get discouraged and down, especially if you are one of the many who are basically living in solitary confinement regardless of the quality of it.

Shasta Guy Jul 03, 2020 05:30 PM
Public Health Discusses New Health Order and Beach Closure

I don’t like the term, but I second Macpuzl. Any protest for any cause right now is sheer idiocy. The virus doesn’t care about your cause. The virus only cares about getting aspirated out of someone’s shouting mouth and getting to your eyes or mucous membranes.

MountainMan4865 Jul 02, 2020 10:16 PM
Public Health Discusses New Health Order and Beach Closure

Whelp.... all the concerns about drinking and illegal fireworks on the beach have been solved. Guess they'll have to find somewhere else to go.... Swell. E. Camino Cielo, Painted Cave Rd and W. Camino Cielo has been nothing but a solid parade of cars, campers, and party-ers since the first closure. We were holding out hope that at least drinking and fireworks would be down there the water, and straight roads, and fire departments. Guess not.

letmego Jul 03, 2020 08:43 AM
Public Health Discusses New Health Order and Beach Closure

That's kind of sad to hear, but not surprising. We took a morning trip along paradise road early one weekend day. I know what you mean by partiers. We hiked in a mile to chill out in the distant watering hole for an hour, and hiked back out. By then (11 am), the big watering hole was packed, people were hiking back further and further to get space from others, the picnic areas were full, and there were 40 cars waiting to pay the day fee. But they were not letting anyone else in. I realize that people need to get away (I love running up Gibraltar!), but the big parties are, in fact, the problem.

Luvaduck Jul 03, 2020 08:14 AM
Public Health Discusses New Health Order and Beach Closure

Where are they going? Perhaps some law enforcement supervision would be a good thing (while we still have some) if in your opinion, since you've lived there long enough for it to be helpful, it would keep the wilder ones from starting a wildfire.

Gtownie Jul 02, 2020 08:25 PM
Public Health Discusses New Health Order and Beach Closure

Let me get this straight - we CAN’T go to the beach on the 4th with our family practicing all social distancing protocols but we CAN protest and not practice any social distancing protocols all we want...What am I missing?

DTOM Jul 05, 2020 01:51 PM
Public Health Discusses New Health Order and Beach Closure

Key word numbskulls: " guidance". Now, i guide you to lock up at home and cover your only true way of free speach, your mouth....but you dont have to because its only guidance...THINK FOR YOUSELVES PEOPLE!

SantaBarbaraObserver Jul 03, 2020 08:53 AM
Public Health Discusses New Health Order and Beach Closure

The great legal scholar Chip-of-SB has concluded his review of the law. Thank you for your deep legal analysis Chip-Of-SB. Schools will refer to this interpretation for decades. We should rename the fairgrounds after you! Forget the great SCOTUS Chief Justice, Earl Warren. Its legal minds like Chip-Of-SB, (who graduated from the Sean Hannity College of Law) that define our society and pave the way for future generations. Thank you Chip, where would we be without you and the peanut gallery comment section of EdHat to teach us so much. We'd be blind, I tell you, blind! /o

letmego Jul 03, 2020 08:46 AM
Public Health Discusses New Health Order and Beach Closure

Protests were not sanctioned, but people were definitely encouraged to wear masks. All the photos that I saw, people were being respectful and wearing masks. At this point, multiple studies have shown no increase in COVID cases from the acts of protest - most likely related to being outdoors and wearing masks. (Acts of protest are a different beast than partying.) People who protest government response to the virus are overwhelmingly not distancing or wearing masks. Finally, you CAN go to the beach, you just can't SIT on the beach. You can engage in active recreation.

Chip of SB Jul 03, 2020 08:28 AM
Public Health Discusses New Health Order and Beach Closure

I think you bring up an excellent point GTownie. A lot of public health officials actually condoned and encouraged the BLM protests/riots. Interestingly, these same experts were staunchly opposed to earlier protests against government responses to the virus. Here is an excellent article by Greenwald about public health “experts” reversing their positions on mass gatherings.

a-1593750277 Jul 02, 2020 09:24 PM
Public Health Discusses New Health Order and Beach Closure

The protests were a form of civil disobedience and cannot be compared to holidays at the beach. Protesters walked in the streets. They disrupted regular business. None of it was approved by the authorities, and sometimes, in some locales, it was not even tolerated. The Public Health Office did not set special rules for the protests. They did not issue a statement allowing groups to congregate. There is no double standard.

Gtownie Jul 02, 2020 09:04 PM
Public Health Discusses New Health Order and Beach Closure

Agreed but they should be held to the same social distancing protocols. When they are not it creates an obvious double standard and most of the increased cases we are experiencing at the moment.

a-1593746516 Jul 02, 2020 08:21 PM
Public Health Discusses New Health Order and Beach Closure

Beaches are closed to discourage out-of-towners from bringing and spreading their germs. Turn the sprinklers on and crank up the grill. Celebrate Independence Day knowing that with freedom comes great responsibility.

Luvaduck Jul 03, 2020 10:54 AM
Public Health Discusses New Health Order and Beach Closure

A possibility for apt dwellers is to take the group to any of the little trails along the creeks and "pocket" parks. No crowds of people since only locals know about them. If you do, be respectful and carry out anything you bring in.

letmego Jul 03, 2020 08:48 AM
Public Health Discusses New Health Order and Beach Closure

If you can. We have space to do that, but apartment dwellers without AC have fewer options. I think that people who are lucky enough to have that outdoor space should use it. Let the people with multiple kids cooped up in a small apartment go boogie boarding or swimming this weekend.

a-1593786299 Jul 03, 2020 07:24 AM
Public Health Discusses New Health Order and Beach Closure

Exactly!! It is not the end of the world folks but there IS a very active pandemic happening so let's celebrate our health and do things to stay healthy. Stop and think about the big picture here, 4th of July really is just another day. I love Independence Day and fireworks at the beach but skipping it for this year is not going to cause any harm. I want us all to still be healthy to celebrate the holidays, hopefully with our families and loved ones.

Roger Jul 02, 2020 08:12 PM
Public Health Discusses New Health Order and Beach Closure

I'm glad some people in this life are wealthy and have good lives I am sorry there is anger towards them. I was angry along time sometimes I still get angry but there isn't anyone off hand I feel ill will towards...The freedom of letting go makes me grateful for what I do have.

DTOM Jul 03, 2020 08:32 AM
Public Health Discusses New Health Order and Beach Closure

Military is imperfect example of people complying with non legal bully-ish rules... constitution still applies, there, right? If military backgrounds have anything to do w group think(they do) count me out! Whats wrong w being left alone to live or get ill(and only maybe die) at ones own will? Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!


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