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Central Coast residents asked not to exceed 120 miles during Spring Break, Easter travel

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The weather is beautiful, spring break is underway or cresting into Easter week and those interested in traveling are anxious. But they are also getting a warning.

The California COVID-19 Health Order says:

Californians should remain local (not traveling more than 120 miles from their home or other place of residence) and avoid non-essential travel. Travelers from other states or countries entering into California for tourism and recreation are strongly discouraged.

It also says if you travel more than 120 miles you should self quarantine when you get home to check for symptoms in case you picked up the coronavirus or one of its variants.

What is too far? Santa Barbara to Newport Beach (137 miles), Bakersfield to Pismo Beach (134 miles) and Paso Robles to Santa Barbara (125 miles) would all exceed the 120 mile limit.

Santa Barbara County Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg, said, even with the recent decline, "We can easily revert and see an uptick.”

He pointed out that "spring break is upon us," and advised travelers to stay close to home and only do essential travel.

Looking ahead, "we are well poised to reaching our local home stretch towards conquering this virus. Let us not waste this real opportunity."

He said a ten day quarantine is required for those traveling out of the 120-mile radius out of the state or out of the country.

For those confused as to what is "essential" travel the state has this guideline:

  • Critical infrastructure (like the water supply or power grid)
  • Economic services (like banking)
  • Supply chains (like food distribution)
  • Health care and immediate medical care
  • Safety and security
  • Work and study

Dr. Van Do-Reynoso, the Santa Barbara County Health Director, said has been encouraged by the latest drop in positive cases and expects the county to possibly be in the orange tier in the next few weeks.

That would have more openings or increased capacity, for example, at restaurants, retail, churches, movie theaters and many other businesses.

A visitor Steve Kaplan was with his family at Stearns Wharf and said, " I thought it was flying and stuff, isn't it?" They plan to stay together and avoid close contact with crowds.

The trip along the coast was also very carefully planned after months inside, or with limited outings, to comply with the COVID rules.

"Very important.  More important than honestly, this virus, because  this is becoming very difficult for kids," said Sophia Kaplan. "This is our spring break so us coming back home tomorrow we will be home for another seven days without really going anywhere so technically we won't be going anywhere."

There's been increasing crowds for the last week on the Central Coast.

    Pismo Beach over the weekend, was one of the busiest places.   Besides local residents it's a destination for Bakersfield visitors 134 miles away.   Just over the limit.

Two women from Long Beach were just under the travel limit but were not aware of it or that concerned.
"Definitely not  but then again we weren't planning on traveling far," said one of them. They also enjoyed Santa Barbara in the past and knew their way around. Where crowds were too big they went to another area and came back another time, such as the wharf when it was packed. Both were wearing masks.

For more information about the travel advisory go to:

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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT NewsChannel 3. To learn more about John, click here.

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