Residents of Santa Barbara County will be required to wear face coverings when in public starting Tuesday, after County Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg issued a Health Officer Order intended to slow the spread of COVID-19 to the maximum extent possible.
Health Officer Order 2020-10 will be effective starting 5:00 p.m. May 26, and will continue until 5:00 p.m. on June 30, or until it is extended, rescinded, superseded, or amended in writing by Dr. Ansorg.
All individuals will have to wear a covering made of cloth, fabric, or permeable materials, without holes, that covers the nose and mouth and surrounding areas of the lower face. They will be required when inside of or in line to enter any and all businesses, as well as when using public transportation, a private car service, or a ride-sharing vehicle.
The order includes businesses, requiring employees, contractors, owners, and volunteers to wear a face covering at the workplace and at off-site work locations. Drivers must also wear a face covering while driving or operating vehicles regardless of whether a member of the public is in the vehicle.
“A significant portion of individuals with COVID-19 are asymptomatic and can transmit the virus to others through coughing, sneezing, or talking. Face coverings have the potential to slow the spread of the virus by limiting the spread of respiratory droplets,” Santa Barbara County Public Health Department officials said in a press release announcing the order.
The move comes after Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order May 4 allowing the reopening of lower-risk businesses and spaces. On May 20, the county was given the greenlight to proceed into stage two of the Governor’s Resilience Roadmap.
By requiring face coverings, the SBCPHD hopes to slow any spread of COVID-19 as businesses begin to reopen.
The order does not apply to infants or children under the age of 13. Also, masks with one-way valves cannot be used to comply with this order.
Exceptions, guidelines and information relative to this order can be found in the full Health Officer Order at https://countyofsb.org/uploadedFiles/phd/PROGRAMS/Disease_Control/Corona/Health%20Officer%20Order%202020-10.pdf.
Santa Barbara County currently has a total of 186 active COVID-19 cases, with 12 new cases announced Friday.
Of the total cases, 27 people are recovering in a hospital, with 10 in the Intensive Care Unit, while 71 are recovering at home.
To date, there have been 1,346 cases of recovery in the county total, including 881 from the Federal Prison Complex in Lompoc. Since the outbreak, there have been 1,551 confirmed cases in the county, with 971 total confirmed cases in the prison system in Lompoc, 88 of which are still active, according to the county.
According to the Bureau of Prisons, the federal department that operates the Lompoc facilities, there are 122 active cases in the Lompoc facilities.
At the Federal Correctional Institute Lompoc, 52 inmates and eight staff members have tested positive. At the U.S. Penitentiary Lompoc, 54 inmates and eight staff members have tested positive.
To date, 966 inmates have recovered, including 855 in the Federal Correctional Institute, as well as 24 staffers.
Santa Barbara County also saw its death total due to the novel coronavirus rise to 12 on Friday.
The SBPHD will not be updating COVID-19 case statistics this weekend, including the Memorial Day holiday. The next update is expected Tuesday.