SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - After describing the emotions of the past week as a "remarkable roller coaster" Supervisor Gregg Hart learned the state had approved the county's attestation documents needed to move through the second reopening phase during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Supervisor Hart said by phone the county is preparing documents the Public Health Officer will sign in the morning.
Dr. Henning Ansorg said,“We will immediately issue a new health officer order to give guidance to which businesses can open, provided they have the mandatory modifications for safe operations in place.”
Restaurants, retailers and other businesses can go to the county's new self- certification portal to get verified by visiting countyofsb.org.
Hart said some will be able to be certified in time for the holiday weekend.
Once verified customers will be able to go inside verified stores and dine inside verified restaurants.
“You will know a business has passed the self-certification process by a prominent sign in the window," said Hart.
Hart credits letters and the lobbying of elected officials with convincing the state to view Lompoc's inmate outbreak as a separate unique situation from the community's readiness to reopen.
The county will also receive funds at a time when it is facing a $50 million budget deficit.
Supervisor Hart announced that Santa Barbara County will receive nearly $45 million in Federal CARES Act funding to offset COVID-19 costs.
“This won't fill the entire whole, but it will go along way to making the deficit up,” said Hart.
Dr. Ansorg said it is still a critical time to keep infections and hospitalization rates from spiking.
"We remain in a still critical phase of our reopening journey," said Ansorg.
He advised people not to travel over the Memorial Day Weekend and to continue to practice social distancing and hand washing. He also recommended wearing masks to protect others, something the county may require in the future.
"All of us are looking forward to a more open city and county, and to enjoy being able to sit on the patio of a restaurant or a coffee shop, but we are not quite there yet." said Ansorg.
The county will have another COVID-19 conference this Friday, but will not update the numbers during a televised conference on Memorial Day.