Public Health Clarifies Restrictions for Some Activities and Business Operations
By edhat staff
The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department (PHD) issued a "Stay Well at Home Order" Friday clarifying restrictions on essential businesses and allowing faith-based gatherings, golf, and more, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
PHD Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg made the announcement in a press release Friday afternoon with the order being effective at 5:00 p.m. until May 31, 2020.
Dr. Ansorg issued Health Officer Order No. 2020-8 to clarify essential businesses within the county with efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19. It states certain essential businesses may open with modified operations and social distancing protocols
Essential businesses are required to implement, prepare, and post a "Social Distancing Protocol" for each facility frequented by employees or the public. The Protocol must be posted at or near the facility entrance and be easily viewable. It is required that each business designates an employee to monitor and enforce compliance with the Protocol at all times the business is open to the public.
Seven elements of the protocol are required such as limiting the number of people in an area, specified line formations, provide hand sanitizer at the entrance for public use, and contactless payments.
The list of essential businesses has grown to include golf courses, faith-based services, childcare facilities, rideshare operations such as taxis or Lyfts, and more.
Although restrictions still apply, depending on the business. For example, faith-based services are allowed to resume but must be outdoors and attendees must remain in their vehicles at a distance. For rideshare drivers, they may only transport non-symptomatic riders, provide 6ft or more of distance within the vehicle, and sanitize the vehicle after each ride.
The restrictions on outdoor activities have been lessened and now permit visiting botanical gardens, golfing, tennis, and pickleball. Other activities such as pleasure driving, outdoor housework including gardening, walking, hiking, running, and bicycling, going to the beach or trail walking are still permissible with proper social distancing.
Santa Barbara County Supervisor Gregg Hart emphasized in a press conference on Friday afternoon this health order does not relax any restrictions but is a way to clarify questions that have been raised about Governor Newsom's stay at home order.
However, prior to Friday's press release, the Public Health Department confirmed such activities as golf, tennis, and faith-based gatherings were not allowed within the county. Now they are.
Businesses that must remain closed continue to include art galleries, concert halls, barbers/hair and nail salons, bars, casinos, campground and RV parks, gyms and fitness centers, movie theatres, and more.
The health order with a list of businesses allowed to open and those not allowed can be found here.
The health order warns that any violation or failure to comply may constitute a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, imprisonment, or both.
More information can be found on the Public Health Department's website.
[Editor's Note: This article has been updated to reflect new information provided in Friday, April 24, press conference]