SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Ventura counties have hit a reopening roadblock.
All three counties have been downgraded in the state's reopening plan, moving from the "Red Tier" to the "Purple Tier." The Purple Tier indicates that COVID-19 is "widespread" throughout the county.
"Daily cases though in the state of California have doubled just in the last 10 days. This is simply the fastest increase California has seen since the beginning of the pandemic," Newsom said.
The step backward is no surprise in Ventura and San Luis Obispo Counties, which were at-risk of moving back as of last week. But Santa Barbara County's inclusion in the demotion came as a surprise to many.
This change from the red to purple tier means that many businesses will be required to move to outdoor-only operations including restaurants, gym and fitness centers, places of worship, family entertainment centers, wineries, movie theatres, museums, zoos, aquariums and cardrooms.
Newsom described the decision as pulling the "emergency brake."
Newsom also said the state had updated the terms for how counties will continue to be assigned tiers moving forward.
Now, counties can move move tiers after only one week of showing data that would push them into a more restrictive tier. Previously the state had waited to see two weeks of county data to before counties were moved between tiers.
Businesses will also have less time to implement changes. Instead of three days, business owners will now have 24 hours
"Every age group, every demographic, racial, ethnic, uh, in every part of the state, uh, we are seeing case rates increase and positivity rates increase as well, no longer concentrated in just a handful of counties. We are seeing community spread broadly now through eight throughout the state of California," Newsom said.
The change in tier status means schools that haven’t reopened will have to remain closed until the county moves back into the red tier or, for grades TK – 6, until they receive a waiver from the state to reopen for in-person learning with modifications, according to Santa Barbara County Public Health.