What You Need to Know About Gatherings During COVID-19

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By Dr. Henning Ansorg, M.D., FACP,  Health Officer County of Santa Barbara, Department of Public Health

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department has consistently advised you to wear masks, stay six feet apart and avoid gatherings if not with household members. But what does a gathering consist of? Are we allowed to gather with people that live inside our house? And what about family that lives elsewhere?

According to the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, members of the same household ARE permitted to gather both indoors and outdoors. A household is defined as people who live together under the same roof, whether it be family, friends, or roommates. A household only changes when a member permanently moves out, not on a day to day basis.

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department prohibits any gathering of people from different households. A gathering is anytime people get together in any place and for any reason, such as to eat, shop, work, meet, play, or pray. This includes hosting visitors in your home, having sleepovers or play dates, backyard barbecuing with friends, shopping with others, visiting with family or friends not from your household, and going to work in a non-essential capacity. It is important to understand that any in-person gathering of those not in your household is considered non-essential, and is not permitted at this time, whether it is inside or outside.

Again, the only people that are legally permitted to gather are those who live with you on a day to day basis.

These guidelines from the County Public Health Department are not merely suggestions, but legal requirements that must be followed. Please remember to social distance and wear masks in public, when you are around others, and while at essential locations, such as the grocery store or pharmacy. Following these guidelines will help us all stay safe and slow the spread of COVID-19.

However, there are still fun ways to hang out at home and stay connected to others! You can eat dinner at home, play in your yard, have a family game night or movie marathon, go for a drive, go on a family hike, walk the dog, video chat friends and family, or go to the beach (at a social distance from others).

To learn more about what the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department is doing to serve and protect our community through the coronavirus, visit: www.publichealthsbc.org.


Dr. Henning Ansorg, M.D., FACP is  a graduate of Justus-Liebig-University Medical School Giessen, Germany. He completed Residency training in Munich, Germany and Tucson, AZ and is board certified in Family Practice (Germany) and Internal Medicine (USA). Dr. Ansorg is a Diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine and a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and is on the Medical Staff at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara. He has many years of experience in different clinical settings including 10 years of Private Practice and Urgent Care in Munich, Germany as well as 11 years of Internal Medicine/Geriatrics in Arizona as well as 4 years at the Santa Barbara County Health Care Center. Dr. Ansorg has served as Public Health Officer for Santa Barbara County since April 2019.

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LooseCannon Nov 13, 2020 06:09 PM
What You Need to Know About Gatherings During COVID-19

* It's OK, though, to gather at posh restaurants like The French Laundry and send your kids to private school where they enjoy in-person instruction.

One set of rules for the rich. Another set of rules for the plebs.

a-1605503081 Nov 15, 2020 09:04 PM
What You Need to Know About Gatherings During COVID-19

It was scrapped, I think it was made a pick-up meal dinner. McCarthy changed Repubs' dinner too.
I'd cite news sources if I didn't think you'd mock them. Guess I'll include them anyway.
I searched "pelosi freshmen congress dinner"

https://www.fox5dc.com/news/pelosi-scraps-in-person-dinner-with-new-democrat-members-of-congress-after-photo-sparks-backlash-during-covid

"Earlier Sunday, Republicans were moving ahead with the dinner following Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy saying Saturday morning his team would discuss their plans for the dinner after Hill Democrats changed their own plans. But less than an hour after the Republican dinner was set to begin Sunday evening, 45 tables were set for two in an empty Statuary Hall."
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/house-gop-modifies-their-dinner-for-freshman-members-after-democrats-altered-theirs-amid-coronavirus-concerns/ar-BB1b0atQ?scrlybrkr=082d5c6b

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/house-gop-modifies-their-dinner-for-freshman-members-after-democrats-altered-theirs-amid-coronavirus-concerns/ar-BB1b0atQ?scrlybrkr=082d5c6b

Both parties blew it:
"A group of incoming House Republican freshmen visited the White House Friday night, according to multiple postings CNN has spotted on social media. Among the members-elect were QAnon-promoter Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina, who won the former seat of White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.
The members-elect, who were not wearing masks in most of the photos, got a tour of the White House but did not meet with President Donald Trump, according to an administration official with knowledge of the President's schedule.
Politico first reported the visit, and said it was spearheaded by McCarthy. His office declined to give a comment to CNN about the visit."

ChemicalSuperFreak Nov 13, 2020 05:55 PM
What You Need to Know About Gatherings During COVID-19

Seriously! $350/plate dinner with 12 other people (more than 10 is a no-no) from several different households. At least Pelosi stays inside with her $10,000 a piece twin deep freezes stocked with $20/pint ice cream.

ChemicalSuperFreak Nov 13, 2020 04:12 PM
What You Need to Know About Gatherings During COVID-19

LETMEGO: Yup. 7.0 buys you a spot in the purple tier. Today's case rate is 16.7, and the 7-day average is 9.0. I think you and I have similar numbers, but here are my daily 7-day averages starting Monday of this week thru today: 7.5, 7.6, 7.8, 7.8, 9.0. Because of the 7-day lag + 7-day average, it will take about another week before these numbers hit the dashboard, but I'm providing these numbers in case people want a glimpse into the future. These are unadjusted numbers, so testing rate will have some impact if they choose to adjust us down a little. Also, they give the county a grace period to see if the numbers come down before they pull the trigger and send us into purple.

pstarSR Nov 13, 2020 01:51 PM
What You Need to Know About Gatherings During COVID-19

If you want to be out of this pandemic, if you want the restrictions to end. Stay home, stay away from people and wear a mask. anyone wanna argue it. try wearing the mask and social distancing for longer than 30 seconds. do whats recommended by doctors and people that went to school for this. and JUST FOLLOW THE RULES. we will be out of this a lot sooner if you monkeys did that.

NostraChumash Nov 13, 2020 12:54 PM
What You Need to Know About Gatherings During COVID-19

Notice that, any comment stating how we should practise safety recommendations, is downvoted..but comments advocating for adults to not follow sociological rules
(aka-youre not the boss of me), gets upvoted?...
Lol..the system can do anything it wants to, to us, without a lawyer in the country who will represent us.
Keep thinking that we are magically protected by a document, or person in a uniform..& those folks will be in for a terrible awakening.
Realize..you're not debating with me..you're battle is with yourself.

Voice of Reason Nov 13, 2020 11:27 AM
What You Need to Know About Gatherings During COVID-19

Let’s do some math, all data pulled from the CDC website.
CA - heavy restrictions vs. FL - no restrictions.
Cases/100k last 7 days: CA – 16.1, FL – 24.2 = CA heavy restrictions led to 8.1/100k less covid cases.
CA population of 40M /100k x 8.1 = 3,240 additional cases over past 7 days if we didn’t have any restrictions.
Assuming those over 70 stay safe at home, the average IFR for those 69 and under is 0.234% (and dropping).
.00234 x 3,240 additional cases last 7 days = 7.6 additional deaths in CA had we not had restrictions in place.

This is where our state has failed us. In order to save those 7.6 lives how many out of the states 40,000,000 are we sacrificing with the restrictions? There are approximately 12,000 deaths in CA per year from OD’s, suicide, and homicide = 230 per week. If CA’s restrictions increase the risk of just these three factors by a mere 3.3% (7.6/230) the restrictions did not save lives.

Let’s also add in hours / years of life lost. How much shorter overall will our populations lives be due to missed/postponed medical appointments, less healthy lifestyles, poverty, malnutrition, mental health, less education? All these factors have very real impacts on our collective life spans. So collectively how many years of Californian’s lives are we also sacrificing? These are tough decisions but ones that true leaders are able to make, and ones our current state and local leaders refuse to address, they hide behind preventing Covid deaths while ignoring all others.

Covid is serious and measures need to be taken. We are well past the point in the pandemic where the decision on what measures should be taken is made within our own communities, based on what is occurring in our community, and what is best for our community. It should NOT be mandated at the state or federal level. The job of the state and federal governments is to support our community, not control it.

Greemo Nov 13, 2020 10:29 AM
What You Need to Know About Gatherings During COVID-19

My girlfriend and I don’t live under the same roof. Can we go out to dinner together? How about spending the night at each other’s house?

If people can’t “gather” in order to pray, why are churches open?

This article directly contradicts the health order Dr. Ansorg himself has issued, which allows all kinds of “gatherings”, like at dance studios, cultural ceremonies, etc. It is misleading, confusing, and undermines the credibility of County Health.

sacjon Nov 13, 2020 11:20 AM
What You Need to Know About Gatherings During COVID-19

GREEMO - good point about churches. Restaurants and bars are open now as well. Why is that less risky than eating with family, even if from different homes? I am 100% for restrictions on certain things, but this one makes no sense. I'll be ignoring this one as we eat outdoors on Thanksgiving!

HOUSER01 Nov 13, 2020 09:03 AM
What You Need to Know About Gatherings During COVID-19

I believe in science and the seriousness of this pandemic, but to say that I CAN go to a pedestrian filled State St., eat at a table that's surrounded by other tables spaced 6ft apart, filled with strangers, BUT not have my parents or friends (who also take this pandemic seriously) over to my backyard and where I've set up seating that is 10ft apart, with provided hand sanitizer and disposable gloves? Sorry, but I'll take my chances social distancing with friends and family at home.

NostraChumash Nov 13, 2020 08:41 AM
What You Need to Know About Gatherings During COVID-19

I hope people understand, that carona virus is not the last hurdle to be jumped in this lifetime.
We will face much stricter rules as current ideologies change..we may even face a real war.
So how will we each respond to these new catastrophies that will demand a self-dicipline 10x greater than what we now face?..
How will people (you) survive?
If wearing a mask in public, not gathering in groups, or any other advice given, is too hard to accept...how will "you" cope?..

pstarSR Nov 13, 2020 01:50 PM
What You Need to Know About Gatherings During COVID-19

if EVERYONE agreed, we wouldnt still be in this pandemic........the restrictions here and ALL OTHER STATES are based on Science, you sir are just regurgitating a ghost of presidents past.............

Voice of Reason Nov 13, 2020 09:18 AM
What You Need to Know About Gatherings During COVID-19

Completely disagree Nostra. Back in March EVERYONE agreed to shutdown and stay home, even into April. That is exactly how we will survive any new catastrophe thrown at us. The restrictions currently imposed on Californian's are not based on science but control and politics and not necessary for our survival.

ChemicalSuperFreak Nov 13, 2020 03:55 AM
What You Need to Know About Gatherings During COVID-19

Celebrate with the people you normally have over for Thanksgiving. What has been demonstrated in the data I've looked at is that surges/spikes/outbreaks/super-spreaders only occur when strangers get together, such in protests. All other familial holidays have not registered a tick. Fact.

a-1605329075 Nov 13, 2020 08:44 PM
What You Need to Know About Gatherings During COVID-19

Unless people are in your inside-your-home group, you have NO idea who they've contacted or how careful all have been. Be careful. Good luck. I've been intubated and in ICU, I hope not to be again.

a-1605328632 Nov 13, 2020 08:37 PM
What You Need to Know About Gatherings During COVID-19

Here's another. Even Fox says so!
https://www.foxnews.com/health/sturgis-motorcycle-rally-coronavirus-cases-south-dakota

Doubt I can give you source you'd accept; you can google ""map" sturgis rally coronavirus spread"
For what it's worth, I was part of the biker community for years, but never made it to Sturgis.

ChemicalSuperFreak Nov 13, 2020 06:03 PM
What You Need to Know About Gatherings During COVID-19

Alex: Those Trump rallies certainly were big, bigger than Biden's, but they were completely dwarfed in size by all those peaceful protests involving looting, arson, assaults and murders. You can look at any website that shows case rates and see the massive spike in cases that began at the end of May and continued until the end of September. Remind me. What happened around May 25th?

letmego Nov 13, 2020 09:43 AM
What You Need to Know About Gatherings During COVID-19

Everything I've read shows the complete opposite. Contact tracing is showing weddings, parties, games nights in peoples homes, colleges starting up again, and youth sports (in particular, carpools to and from youth sports). As people start hanging out with friends, indoors, not masked - it's spreading quickly.

No longer do people have a "pod" of 1 or 2 families. Your kid has a sports "pod" of 3 or 4, and each of those kids has a pod of 3 or 4. Contact tracers are finding that instead of contacting an average of 3-4 people, it's now 8 or more.

Basicinfo805 Nov 12, 2020 07:42 PM
What You Need to Know About Gatherings During COVID-19

Wow. I'm blown away by the comments I've just read here to our public health recommendations. Take a look at VOR's response. I gave up reading after a few minutes. Voice of reason? That's an emotional rant if I've ever seen one. Look, I'm no Newsome fan at all. I think he's really screwed us in California. But the common sense approach to thanksgiving is exactly what Dr. Ansorg is laying out here. In this case we're talking about a ONE DAY holiday of sacrifice for the greater good. We're not dealing with people's livelihood and childrens' educations like we have been since March. Come on people. If we give the rules the finger and say 'hey screw you guys we know better we're getting together on turkey day like usual' (Andrea), well, I think that's how we keep this shutdown going even longer. ONE DAY. Big friggin' deal. Do the right thing.

Voice of Reason Nov 13, 2020 08:26 AM
What You Need to Know About Gatherings During COVID-19

@8:15, and what if a robust vaccine can't be made and deployed? How many years must we wait in hiding until those that understand the risks are allowed to get on with their lives?

a-1605240946 Nov 12, 2020 08:15 PM
What You Need to Know About Gatherings During COVID-19

Exactly. Every day, until there is a robust vaccine that is widely deployed, should be a day without nonessential interactions. Trying to characterize social gatherings as essential is nonsense.

a-1605303573 Nov 13, 2020 01:39 PM
What You Need to Know About Gatherings During COVID-19

I don't think you understand the severity of the pandemic.
Do you think over 200,000 deaths in the USA alone are faked?
International death totals are faked?
Other countries are in on the conspiracy?
Too little thinking behind such a comment.

420722 Nov 12, 2020 06:22 PM
What You Need to Know About Gatherings During COVID-19

Not that I care or would ever do what king Newsom says but he is now “allowing” 3 households to gather. Not sure where assborg gets the idea that any of these are actual laws because they aren’t.

Voice of Reason Nov 12, 2020 05:45 PM
What You Need to Know About Gatherings During COVID-19

No, no and absolutely not. Even during a pandemic the CPHD can not tell me who I can and can not have in my home. What is more disturbing than these bureaucrats and politicians drunk on power is how fear of a virus that 99.97% of people will survive (and improving) has caused so many to willingly give up their basic rights and freedoms. Even if you agree with the measures, what happens next time when you're not so willing to give up your basic rights? We have nearly a year experience with this virus, AT BEST these restrictions slow the spread, they will not and can not "beat" the virus. Why aren't they doing a cost/benefit analysis on our overall wellbeing with these heavy handed restrictions? Shouldn't we have some evidence at this point that the measures taken are not only effective but worth the cost? How can science tell us Disneyworld is safe to open but not Disneyland? How does the "Equity Metric" have anything to do with covid? Why is there no state in the US (or country in the world) that has shown a reduction in cases after mask mandates went into effect? Why have there been so many huge spikes after mask mandates went into effect? Why did 85% of covid patients in a CDC study always (70%) or often (15%) wear a mask, yet still go covid? If they're "always" wearing a mask wouldn't they be avoiding non-mask wearers and in general being safer? Why are there heavily restricted states still spiking? Why are states without restrictions like Florida and countries like Sweden, now doing better than states and countries with heavy restrictions? Even if Florida is only slightly worse, why have these society destroying restrictions for only a nominal benefit? Why are we still not questioning authority and rational behind these decisions? Why are our schools still closed when schools throughout the US/world have been open for months (some never closed) and no evidence schools were vectors for the virus? If your at-risk, stay home and stay safe. If not, stay safe and lets get on without lives and livelihoods, we do not need the government to tell us what to do, we can manage this within our own community based on what works best for us (not blanket rules for entire state or nation).

a-1605241579 Nov 12, 2020 08:26 PM
What You Need to Know About Gatherings During COVID-19

Complete quote follows. I guess you meant "with our"? Two words and an "r" instead of a "t"?

"If your at-risk, stay home and stay safe. If not, stay safe and lets get on without lives and livelihoods, we do not need the government to tell us what to do, we can manage this within our own community based on what works best for us (not blanket rules for entire state or nation).

MountainMan4865 Nov 12, 2020 07:38 PM
What You Need to Know About Gatherings During COVID-19

Thank you for this post. The CEO of Disneyland was/is sitting on the California Covid Task Force walked out on the talks a few weeks ago, because they were stalling on letting Disneyland reopen. Not sure why he was an expert on dealing with the problem. In Australia, months ago, they were reporting 10 suicides for every Covid 'death'. No such metric has been reported here, but I hear the calls out on the scanner... pretty significant.

sacjon Nov 12, 2020 02:41 PM
What You Need to Know About Gatherings During COVID-19

Wait, I thought we're permitted to have up to 3 households together for the holidays? Newsom has repeatedly said that. Is SB County now being more restrictive? Will they be policing Thanksgiving dinners?

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