Santa Barbara County to Go Under Regional Shutdown

As COVID-19 Cases Rise Across State, Governor Newsom Pulls New Emergency Brake

Santa Barbara County will likely be under a new stay-at-home order within the next week, thanks to Governor Gavin Newsom’s new break up of California by region rather than county.

The governor divided the state by five separate regions: Northern California, the greater Sacramento area, the Bay Area, the San Joaquin Valley, and Southern California, which includes Santa Barbara County. Any region whose intensive-care-unit capacity falls under 15 percent will be placed under a stay-at-home order for three weeks.

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Newsom announced the order on Thursday, when the state saw its highest-ever daily new COVID-19 case count. On Wednesday, the state’s COVID-19 dashboard showed that 20,759 new cases had been reported over the past 24 hours — nearly 2,500 more cases than the previous high of 18,350.

“If we don’t act now, California’s hospital system will be overwhelmed and our death rate will continue to climb,” Newsom said at the Thursday press conference.

He explained that regions where hospital capacity falls below 15 percent will be placed under a stay-at-home order for three weeks. He said that all areas besides the Bay Area are projected to go below that 15 percent capacity in the next few days to a week. The Bay Area should fall below the mark in mid-late December. 

The shutdown means that all nonessential travel is prohibited. When a region is placed under temporary stay at home order, like Southern California where Santa Barbara County is located, businesses like bars, wineries, personal services, hair salons, and boutiques will be closed. Places that will stay open are schools with waivers, critical infrastructure, retail shops (at 20 percent capacity), and restaurants (takeout and delivery only).

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