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San Luis Obispo takes action to protect public health

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SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - The City of San Luis Obispo is taking action to remind the community and visitors that they must do their part in helping to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The city is working with leaders from Cal Poly, Cuesta College and the San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department to keep the community safe, especially as more students return to the area.

“Many of our recent cases in San Luis Obispo County are tied to in-person gatherings among young adults age 18 to 29,” said Dr. Penny Borenstein, the County Public Health Officer.  “We’re reminding everyone in SLO County that you can help slow the spread of COVID-19 here if you wear a face covering, practice physical distancing and avoid in-person gatherings.”

Cal Poly is working closely with the CSU Chancellor’s Office and the San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department to comply with the Governor’s guidance for higher education. 

The university has put a number of safety protocols in place, such as requiring all students living on campus to show a negative test result for COVID-19 taken within 72 hours prior to arriving on campus.

Cal Poly also recently hosted a Virtual Town Hall to discuss their plans for the start of the fall quarter and to address questions.  

Cal Poly says it is prepared to address students engaging in risky behavior, by holding them accountable for conduct that compromises the public health of either the campus or the community. Those who do not follow physical distancing requirements will be reported to Cal Poly’s Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities and will be subject to university sanction (up to potential suspension or expulsion).

Cuesta College has implemented a Safe Reopening Plan for the Fall 2020 semester with guidance from county, state, and federal public health agencies and the CA Community Colleges Chancellor’s office.

“As we’ve welcomed back our students both virtually and in person, I’m appreciative of our partnership with the City and County of San Luis Obispo to ensure that Cuesta College is doing our part to promote the safety and well-being of not only our campuses, but our local community as a whole,” said Dr. Jill Stearns, Cuesta College Superintendent/President.

8 percent of 1,200 course sections include on-campus activity with hygiene protocols and safety modifications.  Personal wellness screening checks are recommended daily and supported by self-serve and no contact temperature kiosks.

To help prevent gatherings, the City invoked a city-wide Safety Enhancement Zone in April 2020.  During a Safety Enhancement Zone, violations for noise, unruly gathering, open alcohol container and public urination will incur double fines. Violations of the public health order disallowing gatherings will be enforced and is also subject to double fines.

Community members can report large or loud gatherings by calling 805-781-7312.

“The City of San Luis Obispo is committed to ensuring the health and safety of our community and doing everything we can to slow the spread of COVID-19,” said City Manager Derek Johnson. “While we welcome back our new and returning community members, it is important for them to be aware that many members of our community have been doing their part to help slow the spread and we expect the same from them.”

For the next several weeks, the San Luis Obispo Police Department will team up with the Cal Poly Police Department to monitor gatherings and parties as students return to the neighborhoods.

The partnered patrol unit will be proactively patrolling neighborhoods to educate and use enforcement tools when necessary. All noise, unruly gatherings and public health violations are reported directly to both Cal Poly and Cuesta College student affairs offices.

Other actions the City has taken include:

  • Enhanced communication focusing on the 18 to 29 age range stating the safety enhancement and public health guidelines, as well as reinforcing the hand washing, face coverings and physical distancing guidelines
  • Focused education to properties that are repeat offenders of the public health orders and/or municipal code violations
  • Postcard/mailer to residents reiterating the public health guidelines and enforcement information

Community / Education / Safe at Home / Safety / San Luis Obispo County
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Genelle Padilla

Genelle Padilla is the co-anchor of KCOY NewsChannel 12 evening newscasts and KKFX My Fox 11 news at 10 p.m.