Santa Barbara County Hits Pause on Reopening Personal Care Services

Santa Maria Outbreaks Prevent Public Health from Proceeding to State’s Next Reopening Stage

The anticipated reopening of personal care services, including massage therapy, are now on hold. | Credit: Paul Wellman (file)

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Though last week Santa Barbara County appeared to be on a fast track to reopen more businesses and plow through to the state’s next stage, a new outbreak inside a Santa Maria skilled nursing facility forced the county to hold back.


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The anticipated reopenings of personal care services are on hold. Those businesses include, but are not limited to:

  • Estheticians
  • Skin care and cosmetology services
  • Electrology (permanent hair removal)
  • Nail salons
  • Body art professionals
  • Tattoo parlors
  • Piercing shops
  • Massage therapy (including non-healthcare settings)
  • Businesses offering facials, electrolysis, and waxing

Earlier this week, five residents of the Country Oaks Care Center died of COVID-19. As of the health department’s most recent report, 14 staffers and 25 residents are infected. Because of the outbreak, the confidence in reopening more businesses diminished.

“Out of an abundance of caution and for the safety of all community members, particularly our most vulnerable, Public Health leadership has decided to hold on further reopening,” said Dr. Henning Ansorg, county public health officer. “We urge all residents to take this time to evaluate how they can limit their exposure to people outside their homes. This virus will continue to spread unless we take action to stop it.”


At the Santa Barbara Independent, our staff is working around the clock to cover every aspect of this crisis — sorting truth from rumor.  Our reporters and editors are asking the tough questions of our public health officials and spreading the word about how we can all help one another. 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+.

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