Paseo Nuevo, others welcome accelerated Stage 2 path
Santa Barbara County schools and outdoor malls can now reopen.
And with some modifications, restaurants can offer dine-in service.
That’s among the results from the state’s approval Thursday of an accelerated Stage 2 path to reopening for the county.
The news is one more step toward a more normal world after the lockdown that began with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s March 15 order.
The California Department of Public Health’s decision allows for reopenings by schools, child care, retail stores and some offices. Retail businesses with exterior facing entrances are permitted to have customers inside of the stores. Swap meets are now permitted.
While restaurants can offer dine-in service, other facility amenities, such as bars or gaming areas are not permitted.
The news was a positive turn of events for Paseo Nuevo in downtown Santa Barbara.
Mary Lynn Harms-Romo, the mall’s marketing director, said Paseo Nuevo stores can reopen as soon they go through a Stage 2 certification process. “We are ready as soon as they are.
“I’ve talked to quite a few businesses today. I imagine some will reopen as soon as Saturday,” she told the News-Press.
“Some of our larger stores will need to staff up,” she said. “It may take them a little bit longer.
“It will probably be a slow reopening as people start to gear up, saff up and implement all of the protocols,” Ms. Harms-Romo said. “We don’t want people to think the whole mall will reopen by Saturday.”
Thursday’s approval of the accelerated path was praised by local officials.
“This next phase of our reopening process will help get more Santa Barbara County residents back to work, while ensuring that local businesses modify operations to keep their customers and workers safe,” said 2nd District Supervisor Gregg Hart, chair of the county Board of Supervisors.
“As we reopen additional businesses, we must all continue to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while out in the community,” Mr. Hart said in a news release. “Let’s work together to safely support our local businesses as we progress toward our COVID-19 response and recovery.”
Van Do-Reynoso, director of the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, called the accelerated reopening an “exciting next step” for the community. She expressed gratitude for the “diligent cooperation of residents.”
“As local businesses work through reopening, we encourage them to adhere to the physical distancing and hygiene guidelines while educating both staff and customers of new practices,” Dr. Do-Reynoso said.
The news came on a day when the county saw 20 new COVID-19
cases. Of those, 15 were in Santa Maria, one in Santa Barbara, three in other South County areas, including Carpinteria, Montecito, Summerland, etc., and one in areas that include Guadalupe and various unincorporated communities.
No new cases were reported at the Lompoc Federal Prison.
That brings the total number of cases in Santa Barbara County to 1,540.
There’s a total of 1,337 recovered cases. That breaks down to 880 recovered cases at the Lompoc Federal Prison and 457 in the county community outside the prison.
For more information, go to publichealthsbc.org.