County Officials Deem Santa Barbara Botanic Garden “Essential”

Phased Re-Opening Planning Underway

The County of Santa Barbara’s Public Health Department has recently reclassified the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden as an ‘essential business,’ paving the way for a phased re-opening of this beloved local institution in the weeks ahead. 
 “As the weather warms up, people continue seeking out safe outdoor activities during the Coronavirus pandemic,” said Steve Windhager, Executive Director of the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. “We are thrilled that, once proper planning is in place, the Garden can again be accessible as an outlet for nature-based recreation, inspiration, and healing to members of our community,”
 While the Garden remains closed at this time, staff are planning a phased, gradual reopening that will allow an increase in visitor numbers over time based on how effectively safety protocols can be followed. 
 With its recent reclassification, the Garden is now permitted to host guests while adhering to a strict set of criteria that ensure the social distancing of its attendees. These will include advanced hands-free payment, on-site signage about social distancing protocols, the ability to wash and/or disinfect hands, the frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces, and even greater limitation on the number of guests that can be in the Garden at any one time. 
 “Nothing is more important than the safety of both the public and our staff,” said Dr. Windhager. “As such, the Garden is actively consulting with the County, our Board of Directors, and others to ensure a healthy experience for visitors and Garden staff that follows county guidelines.”
 “We are working through a number of logistical and safety details that will guide our decision-making process in the days and weeks ahead,” said Dr. Windhager. “Additional information regarding our re-opening will be made available on our website and social media channels over the coming weeks.”  The Garden’s mission to conserve California native plants and habitats for the health and well-being of people and the planet is evident on site with over 1,000 taxa of exclusively California native plants, 5.5 miles of trails, and 78 acres, with a variety of cultivated displays, oak and riparian woodlands, a redwood forest, a desert section, and much more to explore.  For more information, visit www.sbbg.org.

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