Health Officer Closes All Santa Barbara County Bars

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Health Officer Closes All Santa Barbara County Bars
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An outdoor table at O'Malleys on State Street in Santa Barbara (Photo by Donald Teel on Unsplash)

Update by Santa Barbara County Public Health Department
June 29, 2020

Santa Barbara County Health Officer, Dr. Henning Ansorg has issued a health officer order mandating the closure of local bars at the recommendation of the California Department of Public Health. This guidance is effective at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, July 1, 2020. This Order will continue until 5 p.m. on July 26, 2020 or until it is extended, rescinded, superseded, or amended in writing.

The following guidelines must be followed:

  • Brewpubs, breweries, bars, and pubs, should close unless they are offering sit-down, dine-in meals. Alcohol may only be sold in the same transaction as a meal.
  • Dine-in restaurants, brewpubs, breweries, bars, and pubs that provide sit-down meals should follow the dine-in restaurant guidance and should continue to encourage takeout and delivery service whenever possible.
  • Brewpubs, breweries, bars, and pubs that do not provide sit-down meals, but wish to operate under this Order must obtain an Emergency Food Permit.

Wineries and tasting rooms may remain open at this time. Additional guidance and the full health officer order can be found here.

“We have made the decision to close bars to be in compliance with 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. “We have to keep each other safe during this time. Changing our habits by making physical distancing and wearing a face covering part of our daily routines will save lives.”

This health officer order is closing bars due to the findings that physical movement of people within bars, the duration of time spent in the establishment, and the degree of social mixing within individuals and groups are all greater in these settings.

More information about the COVID-19 response locally, visit or call the County Call Center at 1(833) – 688 – 5551.

Governor Recommends Closing Santa Barbara and Ventura County Bars

By edhat staff
June 28, 2020

Governor Gavin Newsom ordered the closure of bars in seven counties and recommended the closure in eight others including Santa Barbara and Ventura.

The order and recommendations were put in place to a rise in COVID-19 cases throughout the state after the majority of business sectors were allowed to reopen.

On Sunday afternoon, Newsom posted an alert on twitter stating, "Due to the rising spread of #COVID19, CA is ordering bars to close in Fresno, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, San Joaquin, and Tulare, while recommending they close in Contra Costa, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Stanislaus, & Ventura."

“COVID-19 is still circulating in California, and in some parts of the state, growing stronger,” wrote Newsom in a statement. “That’s why it is critical we take this step to limit the spread of the virus in the counties that are seeing the biggest increases.”

California Public Health Department (CDPH) Director Dr. Sonia Angell stated they are actively monitoring COVID-19 across the state and are working closely with counties where there are increased rates and concerning patterns of transmission. “Closing bars in these counties is one of a number of targeted actions counties are implementing across our state to slow the virus’ spread and reduce risk,” she said in a written statement.

The CDPH guidance recommended that counties on the County Monitoring List close bars for three or more consecutive days, but less than 14 days, through local health officer order. Santa Barbara County, who has been on the monitoring list for 13 days, might be mandated to issue a health officer order to close bars given the rising case count locally.

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department (PHD) is strongly considering options to address these concerns and is continuing to track local metrics while hoping to have further updates regarding the State’s recommendation in the coming days., according to a press release issued Sunday evening.

The actions defined in the guidance include the closure of brewpubs, breweries, bars, and pubs, unless they are offering sit-down, dine-in meals. Wineries and tasting rooms are not included in this recommendation. 

According to CDPH, bars are social environments where groups of people mix. In these environments, alcohol consumption reduces inhibition and impairs judgment, leading to reduced compliance with recommended core personal protective measures, such as the mandatory use of face coverings and the practice of social and physical distancing. Bars are generally louder environments requiring raised voices leading to the greater projection of droplets. These factors present a higher likelihood of transmission of COVID-19 within groups, between groups, and among the workforce.

“I implore all community members to adhere to strict physical distancing at all times and avoid gatherings. Until there is a vaccine, the use of face coverings in conjunction with physical distancing is the most effective way to stop the spread of this virus,” said Dr. Henning Ansorg, Health Officer for Santa Barbara County. “The State’s recommendation comes at a critical time. There is still an opportunity to make a difference in the course of this pandemic, but we must all recommit to this effort.”

On Friday, Santa Barbara County Public Health reported 81 new COVID-19 positive cases bringing the grand total to 2,712 with 54 recovering and 20 of those in the intensive care unit. However, health officials stated some percentages of cases are decreasing and hospitals are equipped to handle a potential increase of patients.

This past Friday also marked the local health officer's approval to reopen previously closed personal service businesses including nail salons and tattoo parlors.

CDPH released a new website forecasting a series of metrics for all counties. The CalCat tool forecasts that Santa Barbara County will have a total of 309 COVID-19 related deaths and 154 daily hospitalizations by the end of July. The county is currently recording 28 deaths and 53 daily hospitalizations.


[This article has been updated with information from the Santa Barbara County Health Department]

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therealbebe Jun 28, 2020 02:22 PM
Health Officer Closes All Santa Barbara County Bars

Bars AND wineries in SB County, hopefully. LA is flocking to the Funk Zone and the Santa Ynez Valley wineries. Shut that down and keep more tourists in their own hometowns, thanks!

UNCLEBILLY Jun 28, 2020 03:07 PM
Health Officer Closes All Santa Barbara County Bars

I am a long time resident and spend a lot of time at the waterfront areas. I often ask tourist "where are you from" and welcome to Santa Barbara. There has always been a nice response and shared stories about their distant communities, countries and culture. I am fortunate to have traveled to these places.
However, when I asked that same question recently, I get this strange look, they hibernate behind their cars and basically tell me to back off and it's none of my business. They just shut down. Welcome to SB!

Luvaduck Jun 29, 2020 08:12 AM
Health Officer Closes All Santa Barbara County Bars

Most people are embarrassed by being acknowledged at putting others at risk of a horrible disease or death so they can play. Some may even be ashamed at coming here knowing they could be bringing Covid to many.

a-1593388498 Jun 28, 2020 04:54 PM
Health Officer Closes All Santa Barbara County Bars

Why don't you open such a bar and when the virus tracers show you facilitated the gathering and infection of dozens of people you'll be sued to within an inch of your kids' futures. Can you spell L-I-A-B-I-L-I-T-Y? No wonder other countries are closing their borders to American travelers.

Luvaduck Jun 29, 2020 08:32 AM
Health Officer Closes All Santa Barbara County Bars

Only if they sign a waver that says that if they get sick they will not seek public assistance to back roll their recovery or funeral expenses for them or their families.

a-1593383103 Jun 28, 2020 03:25 PM
Health Officer Closes All Santa Barbara County Bars

Newsom has had our backs unlike a national leader & his minions, so I say do whatever he feels is correct as he gets scientific/health-based facts from professionals. We all know one person in this country that refuses to listen to science/health based professionals and national entities.

drlnt Jun 28, 2020 03:40 PM
Health Officer Closes All Santa Barbara County Bars

i really could care less about what other people do - WERE IT NOT FOR THE FACT THAT THEIR STUPIDITY COULD COST OTHER'S THEIR LIVES ! in my travels i was told something that, as an american, i found quite profound - i was told by a rather young person from singapore that "americans take the word 'freedom' too literally". the more we try to grab "freedom" by the neck, the more it "freely" slips through our fingers. the person who told me this was probably less than 15 years old. think we MIGHT be missing something ? huh ?

Bene Jun 28, 2020 05:33 PM
Health Officer Closes All Santa Barbara County Bars

Yes Newsom DID have our backs. At first. At first he did such a good job keeping California's numbers low that I was telling all my friends I hoped he'd run for president. But now he's about as bad as the orange one in "opening up and let er rip," California is now among the highest spiking states. I wish people would stop making this all about politics. There have been big mistakes made by ALL sides. Of course Trump is the most laughable. But Trump has said it is up to each state to make their own corona virus decisions. Democrat- run states don't have to listen to Trump's nonsense, so what is the excuse for democrat -run states messing up? We aren't going to solve this by passing the buck or magical thinking that as long as we are democrat-run we are doing fine. Democrat leaders also must be held accountable and spurred on to better decisions.

@chelsea Jun 28, 2020 03:56 PM
Health Officer Closes All Santa Barbara County Bars

Covid -19 has killed 120,000 people in the USA within 4 months. Yet 9/11 which killed a mere 3,000 people is mourned every year, twenty years later. Imagine what that number would be if lockdown didn’t occur?
Still, it’s way too early to discuss true death rates and appropriate reactions. What people still don’t seem to realise is that this thing isn’t over. It is only just beginning.

a-1593384969 Jun 28, 2020 03:56 PM
Health Officer Closes All Santa Barbara County Bars

I am not surprised many of us saw this coming. Now the ones who all along bitched and refused to wear masks are bitching again. It's jaw dropping like they think the virus doesn't exist and petulantly want life to continue as normal well folks it WON"T be normal for a long time now, and longer still if ppl keep shirking masks and social distancing. I give it 1 week before it's mandatory. 20 out of 80 is alot of ppl in ICU.

Luvaduck Jun 29, 2020 08:03 AM
Health Officer Closes All Santa Barbara County Bars

Too bad those who exercise their "freedom to choose" not to wear masks and to congregate in person could be identified somehow so that the <cost> of their freedom is that if they get sick, they are "free to choose" to treat it themselves or pay for hospitalization or a funeral whichever comes first. Freedom comes with a cost: responsibility. Disconnecting the two leads to abuse just as "free" napkins & catsup leads some people to grab handfuls they dont use and throw away.

gooseberries Jun 28, 2020 04:12 PM
Health Officer Closes All Santa Barbara County Bars

I hope we are forced into closure. Maybe Santa Barbara shouldn't have been allowing visitors from LA or surrounding regions. I've been saying keep tourists away for weeks now. If we had maybe we wouldn't be experiencing such a spike. Shut down the hotels, nail and hair salons too.

ChemicalSuperFreak Jun 28, 2020 05:56 PM
Health Officer Closes All Santa Barbara County Bars

GOOSEBERRIES: I have a friend who lives in Prince Edward Island, Canada, which is very much a beautiful and touristy beach destination during the summers. He says they closed the island to outsiders. You must own property AND be able to prove that you can quarantine there for 14 days before you're allowed on the island. They've had 27 cases out of a population of 150,000. They're also lucky in that they're and island and can control who comes and goes to a large extent.

a-1593386517 Jun 28, 2020 04:21 PM
Health Officer Closes All Santa Barbara County Bars

I, from the throne of my paid off mcmansion, whilst drawing my 90% pension, would prefer we shut down the lesslings completely, until at which time it is determined I may safely valet my Bentley without the slightest hint of presumed danger.

dw2000 Jun 28, 2020 04:27 PM
Health Officer Closes All Santa Barbara County Bars

Such a shame, the United States paid the economic price of a shutdown but too many of our citizens and politicians didn't have the discipline to see it through. We should be joining much of the developed world which has beaten back the first wave of the virus significantly and yet it surges here.

bigone Jun 28, 2020 05:12 PM
Health Officer Closes All Santa Barbara County Bars

Insanity. The reality is showing up in death counts. Despite “exploding” cases and a huge increase in testing, fatalities have remained well below April, the height of the outbreak. Quick, round up those careless, thoughtless wild beach partygoers and drunkards at the bars! Close the playgrounds! Shut down 10-member family gatherings! Good thing we didn’t get around to defunding the police yet! We were all staying safely home apart together (or was it together apart?) for 15 days (or was it 30 days? or two months? or six months? or indefinitely?). The expressed goal: keep the “curve” of serious new cases, hospitalizations and intensive-care unit use from rising too quickly and overwhelming the health care system. We have done that. There has been a big reduction in the median age of positive tests from 60-somethings to 33, an age at which the ill are much less at risk for serious clinical consequences. The uptick in the 15-44 age group, showing positivity rates close to 20%, is comprised of largely asymptomatic or experiencing symptoms “so mild that they would not even have to seek medical attention.” There were 4226 "cases" in California yesterday; there were 1957 on April 21. There were 32 deaths in California yesterday; there were 121 on April 22. If you can't see the meaning of this data, I feel sorry for you. Closing things down again is complete lunacy.

letmego Jun 29, 2020 09:09 AM
Health Officer Closes All Santa Barbara County Bars

The problem with the increased positive cases in the 18-49 group is that they will take it home to grandma. There have been more than a few proven instances in other states of large gatherings spreading to families and including 18 + people - including 80 year old grandparents and cancer patients - cancer patients who were only outdoors AND distanced themselves by at least 6 ft. Still infected. I am surprised that you cannot make the connection that increased cases (esp asymptomatic) = increased spread to those at the most risk. But go ahead...if you are anything like the folks on my IG feed, you are enjoying your road trips and backyard teenaged birthday parties with 30+ kids and no masks. I'm sure NONE of those kids are seeing their grandparents and they are all properly quarantining for the next 2 weeks.

Crystalandmaui Jun 29, 2020 07:13 AM
Health Officer Closes All Santa Barbara County Bars

They coming here to Santa Barbara, I saw on the new last night, come to Santa Barbara enjoy the food and drinking, this weekend will be busy here, then the next surge. Santa Barbara will be closed down again, the following week. I hope all the stores, bars , wineries demand a face mask to be worn or no service, have the hand sanitizer at the doors.

biguglystick Jun 29, 2020 11:29 AM
Health Officer Closes All Santa Barbara County Bars

They are already here! We took a Sunday drive only to see the waterfront simply crawling with tourists, none of them wearing masks or social distancing! Turned right back around, windows rolled up and went home where it's safe. Sheer idiocy abounds out there.

a-1593393044 Jun 28, 2020 06:10 PM
Health Officer Closes All Santa Barbara County Bars

For all you naysayers, continue not wearing a mask, keeping at least 6+ feet from others, never washing your hands, and rolling the dice. Please, too, have good health care insurance because I sure don't need to support you and your bullheadedness all the way to the mortuary. Will I cry? Hah!

Shasta Guy Jun 28, 2020 06:27 PM
Health Officer Closes All Santa Barbara County Bars

Many counties are still seeing rising case counts that coincide with the protests the the first week of June per the CA Covid-19 dashboard. I have no intention of going in any bar or restaurant at this point anyway, but I believe it should be a personal choice. Educate yourself on the risks and act appropriately. The advice for mountaineers is applicable here: Nature sets the terms and you must choose to accept them.

sacjon Jun 29, 2020 04:59 PM
Health Officer Closes All Santa Barbara County Bars

BIGMAN - you keep saying this. Where is your evidence? I provided 5 sources for my claim that the protests weren't the cause of the spike. Where's your science on yours? And no, clicking an arrow is not "evidence."

macpuzl Jun 29, 2020 08:42 PM
Health Officer Closes All Santa Barbara County Bars

BO - Nope. The dates of contact and disease development correlate with the reopening, not the later protests. Sticking your fingers in your ears doesn't make the world conform to your desired outcomes, especially considering where you seem to keep your fingers.

SBLetsGetAlong Jun 28, 2020 07:18 PM
Health Officer Closes All Santa Barbara County Bars

What’s are the most important #s?
Deaths and hospitalization.
Not how many people have it.
That was the goal of social distancing & shutting down. There is no cure, and a vaccine may never be developed as these pesky bugs adapt Just like swine flu, no vaccine. It disappeared on its own.
For those if you collecting unemployment, plus the Covid bonus, good for you. Totally u sets tabs why you want to stay at home. You’re making more money sitting in your tush.
But you may not have a job to go back to and the Covid money us running out.
As to freedom, we are a country that asks questions and do t just accept to dogma dished out by government officials in their ivory towers eating $12/gallon ice cream. Politicians only care about themselves and their paychecks.
Coronaviruses have been around for centuries. Thus one was in a lab where they were studying it. Yet they still don’t know what they’re doing.
I believe in maintaining the line of overwhelming the hospitals.
Talk to the hospitals, they are not close to being overwhelmed here in SB county.
Let people earn a living and put food in their families tables. All of you collecting Covid bonuses shouldn’t have a voice, you are biased.
I’m watching business after business closing their doors putting people on unemployment. It’s sad to see the “cure” being worse than the disease.
As to masks, if your susceptible. Wear a medical grade mask. Why would you put your life in other peoples hands. That’s irresponsible if you.
And for Gods sake, wash your damn hands and practice good hygiene! You’re spreading disease by not washing your hands. Forget the mask, I’d take a mandatory hand sanitizing over a mask any day. Stop touching everything SVD then taking your mask off spreading the germs to yourself.
Stay safe, stay human, stay open & encouraging. We are all going through this.

a-1593398553 Jun 28, 2020 07:42 PM
Health Officer Closes All Santa Barbara County Bars

Your post is low information and my only take away from reading it is that you believe everyone is abusing unemployment benefits. Bless your little heart. .Hospitalizations and deaths are going up across the country. Hospitalizations are going up here. Give it another month or two we will have overflowing hospitals and morgues. Texas is already getting overrun and shifting patients between hospitals. Lind of guessing you took advantage of the "Covid Bonus."


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