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Santa Barbara County may soon move into state’s less restrictive Orange Tier

Winery Stearns Wharf
Oliver Forster / NC3
With a move into the orange reopening tier, the Deep Sea Tasting Room would be able to serve its customers indoors at 25% capacity.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — In less than 24 hours, Santa Barbara County will find out if it can be promoted to the state's less restrictive Orange Tier.

Local business Deep Sea Tasting Room said it can’t wait to bring its customers back indoors.

A tier adjustment into Orange would allow wineries to open inside for the first time since the pandemic began.

“We could serve way more people, it’ll mean we’ll have way fewer customers waiting in line outside,” co-owner Sally Conway Wood said. “It’ll be huge for us.”

Counties can move into the Orange Tier when case rates are under 6 per every 100,000 residents and test positivity is under 4.9% for at least two weeks. 

Santa Barbara County’s adjusted case rate is currently 4.6 cases per 100,000 residents and local test positivity is 1.9%. 

If these metrics are met for one additional week, movement into the orange tier may take effect as early as Wednesday.  

Out on the pier, this would be big news for local businesses.

“Businesses can get back,” Santa Barbara resident Dawn Schroeder said. “Also there’s just an exhale, a sigh of relief that we can get back to something a little more normal.”

Restaurants would be allowed to operate at 50% capacity indoors.

Over at the Harbor Restaurant, manager Elisa Miller says it’ll cut back long lines that have been waiting outside on the weekends.

“Having more inside seating, people are going to be happy about it,” she said. “People are going to feel more comfortable, especially with cases going down and people getting their vaccines.”

The increase in customers coming through would also help them bring back more employees.

“Especially with having more seating capacity, we’re going to be hiring more people,” Miller said.

While some are still hesitant about restrictions rolling back.

“We still have to be cautious and careful,” Schroeder said. “I don’t think this is over.”

Others are optimistic as the weather warms up.

“People are going to be excited and ready to experience life being together again,” Conway Wood concluded.

This would mark the first time that Santa Barbara County has ever entered into the orange tier.

Some activities which will be allowed with Santa Barbara County’s anticipated move to the orange tier include:

  • Restaurants: Indoor seating increases to 50% capacity or 200 people maximum. 
  • Gyms and Fitness Centers: 25% capacity indoors; indoor pools can open.
  • Wineries and Breweries: 25% or 100 people indoors maximum
  • Movie Theaters: 50% or 200 people maximum.
  • Museums, Zoos and Aquariums: 50% capacity for indoor activities.
  • Places of Worship: 50% capacity indoor activities.
  • Bars with no food service: Open outdoors with modifications.
  • All retail: No capacity limits.
California / Community / Coronavirus / Economy / Entertainment / Lifestyle / Money and Business / Outdoors / Safe at Home / Santa Barbara - South County
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Blake DeVine

Blake DeVine is a multimedia journalist at NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Blake, click here.

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