Under state guidance announced Friday, hair salons, barber shops and shopping malls in Santa Barbara County will be permitted to resume indoor operations with modifications on Monday, pending specific guidelines from the county Public Health Department.
The change comes after the California Department of Public Health released a new metric system Friday for evaluating the status of COVID-19 in counties, establishing four color-coded tiers that counties can advance through as they show improvements in containing the disease.
Santa Barbara County is now in the purple tier, which indicates continued widespread illness and limitations on sectors. However, malls, hair salons and barber shops were reclassified within the new system as lower-risk, permitting them to reopen indoors earlier.
The sectors, among others, were required to close indoor operations for a second time during the pandemic due to increased COVID-19 rates in the county and the state, causing frustration among business owners.
The status of other businesses are not affected by the new metrics, according to county Public Health Director Van Do-Reynoso.
"It will be the same, but also there will be more latitude. Currently, we do not have hair salons and barber shops open. Now, those places can reopen with modifications," Do-Reynoso said.
Under the guidance, businesses within the sectors must remain at 25% of their regular capacity to prevent transmission of the disease, along with already-established guidelines for sanitizing, mask-wearing and screening of customers.
After achieving the numbers required by the purple "widespread" tier, counties can move to the red "substantial" zone, orange "moderate" tier, and yellow "minimal" tier as they meet certain metrics.
In order to move between tiers, counties will be required to meet the metrics for the next tier for two consecutive weeks and wait a total of 21 days before moving.
The state will publish weekly updates about the status of each county, according to county officials.
For Santa Barbara County to qualify for the red phase, the county must have no more than 32 new cases per day for the next two weeks.
According to officials, the county's daily average is higher than that at this point, but is getting closer to the goal as COVID-19 cases have dropped considerably over the past few weeks.
"Let’s set our goal to advance into our next tier by the end of September," Do-Reynoso said.
An updated public health order for the reopening of the sectors has not yet been released, but county officials said they will work to clarify guidelines for the county over the weekend.
COVID-19 cases in Santa Barbara County
On Friday, an additional 67 COVID-19 cases and one death as a result of the virus were confirmed in Santa Barbara County.
The number of cases in Santa Barbara County has now reached 8,014, with 246 cases still active, according to county data.
The deceased individual was a Santa Maria resident over the age of 70 who had underlying health conditions, according to county officials. The individual also lived in a congregate living facility, although the type of facility was not specified.
This is the 48th death in Santa Maria and the 92nd death in the county.
Hospitalization rates dropped by 23% from Thursday to Friday, according to county metric data. A total of 40 individuals are hospitalized, including 21 in the ICU.
In the city of Santa Maria, 103 cases remain active out of 3,536 cases confirmed thus far. Forty-eight individuals have died.
The community of Orcutt has seven active cases with 260 confirmed thus far. Four individuals have died.
The city of Lompoc continues to have 24 active cases out of 637 total cases. Eight deaths have been confirmed.
In the Santa Ynez Valley, 11 cases remain active out of 113 confirmed. Two individuals have died.
There continue to be no active cases at the Federal Penitentiary in Lompoc, where 1,019 cases have been confirmed and three individuals have died in connection with the virus.
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