Gearing up for Gov. Newsom’s next phase begins as retail businesses are expected to reopen on Friday
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday that the timetable for reopening California’s businesses will be accelerated by starting its second phase this Friday.
Phase two will see the reopening of the “low risk” retail sector and allow retailers such as clothing stores, bookstores, sporting goods stores and florists to conduct business via pickup and drop-off. It will also allow the manufacturing tied to those businesses to resume.
Retailers that wish to reopen on Friday will have to follow a set of guidelines that the state of California will reveal on Thursday.
In a press conference Monday, Santa Barbara County 2nd District Supervisor Gregg Hart said that of the six preconditions the governor outlined for determining the extent to which the stay-at-home order should be modified, four apply to the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department.
The four criteria met include the ability to test, contact trace and support patients exposed to COVID-19, the ability to protect those most vulnerable to COVID-19 from getting the virus, the ability for hospitals to handle surges, and the ability for the County to reinstate certain protective measures should it become necessary.
Mr. Hart said of moving into phase two, “We will be closely reviewing the criteria to be set forth by the governor this week and referenced in his press conference remarks today to make final determinations on how best to move forward on his new timetable.”
This week, with the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department receiving guidelines from the state level and the county’s business reopening task force working out operational issues businesses may face under phase two strictures, the councilmember said the county is moving “as fast as we can” to get eligible businesses up and running on Friday.
While local retailers are awaiting the guidelines under which they’ll have to operate upon reopening at the end of the week, Santa Barbara’s essential businesses have just had a week under the Santa Barbara City Council’s mandate that all employees and customers wear face coverings. While this requirement was passed on April 28, some essential businesses such as the Ralphs on Carrillo Street have had mask requirements in place for a few weeks.
Other local grocers requiring face coverings include Smart & Final and, starting Monday, Costco in Goleta’s Camino Real Marketplace. Costco shoppers who spoke to the News-Press Monday afternoon were universally supportive of the measure.
“I think it’s great,” Goleta resident Michelle Roberson said. “It’s not here to protect us. It’s to protect everybody else, and we have a social responsibility to be kind to each other.”
Santa Barbara resident Stephen Honikman said he had “no problem with it” and called it “the courteous thing to do.”
While she does feel claustrophobic wearing a facemask, Carpinteria resident Clare Westfall conceded that the requirement is prudent.
“I feel for now it’s a good thing. We just need to ride this epidemic out until things improve,” she said.
During Monday’s press conference, Santa Barbara County Public Health Department director Van Do-Reynoso announced that today will mark the first day of COVID-19 testing at the Santa Maria Fairpark, and that testing sites will open in Lompoc and Santa Barbara later this week. Appointments are required for getting tested and can be made by calling 888-634-1123, or by visiting www.lhi.care/covidtesting. Testing will be free of charge or billed to health insurance when possible.
On Monday, 12 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Santa Barbara County, creating a total of 526 cases, according to Dr. Henning Ansorg, the Public Health Department’s.
The doctor added that 65 of those people with active cases are recovering at home, with 39 hospitalized and 13 of them in intensive care. 440 people have totally recovered from the virus.
Seven confirmed COVID-19 positive individuals are currently in isolation across all of Cottage Health’s campuses, with a total of 18 showing COVID-19 symptoms. Of those 18, 7 are in critical care.
According to a press release from Cottage Health, it currently has 214 acute care beds available, with a capacity for adding 270 more beds should there be a surge in COVID-19 cases. Also, 16 of its patients are on ventilators, leaving 59 remaining.