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Just in time for summer, Santa Barbara County Public Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg issued a Public Health Order Thursday that allows children’s day camps, hotels for leisurely travel, and campgrounds, among other new sectors, to reopen with social-distancing modifications.
The new order, which goes into effect at 8 a.m. Friday, was issued after the county’s Public Health Department met on Wednesday to “thoroughly review COVID data” and determined the county still meets epidemiological requirements set by the state for further reopening.
Also included on the list are bars and wineries, gyms and fitness centers, childcare programs and providers, zoos, aquariums, museums, in-person higher education classes, and perhaps the most widely anticipated — K-12 schools. The governor provided guidance for opening all of these sectors and more in a safe way during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ansorg’s issuing of the order allows those sectors in Santa Barbara County to open as long as they comply with the governor’s guidelines. Santa Barbara County has 20 school districts within it, each deciding independently how its schools will open. The Santa Barbara Unified School District is exploring potential pandemic-safe models for hybrid in-person and online instruction, and said that full in-person will likely be impossible given social distancing requirements from the state.
The reopening of these new sectors does not signal the end of the pandemic, though. Just one day before Ansorg issued the order, the Public Health Department also reported the county’s 16th death by the virus in addition to 17 more confirmed cases. (The county has yet to officially acknowledge the fourth death at the Lompoc prison complex, which would bring the county’s death count to 17.) Today, there were 46 more cases reported in the community, not including inmates at Lompoc Federal Prison.
The order is in place through June 30, unless it is rescinded or extended. It can be found here.
At the Santa Barbara Independent, our staff continues working around the clock to cover every aspect of this crisis. The community needs us — now more than ever — and we need you in order to keep doing the important work we do. Support the Independent by making a direct contribution or with a subscription to Indy+.