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Santa Barbara - South County

Santa Barbara Mayor Cathy Murillo gives latest COVID-19 State of the City

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The City of Santa Barbara has released the second edition of Mayor Cathy Murillo's State of the City addresses which focus on the the city's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The City is releasing five of these short clips, which will touch base on multiple developments within the city and how the mayor and city council are responding.

The first address was released last week.

The second COVID-19 address from mayor Cathy Murillo can be found here:

The address has been transcribed by the city. Text of the address can be found below:

Welcome. I’m City of Santa Barbara Mayor Cathy Murillo. For more than 100 years the Santa Barbara City Council has met right here in this Chamber to tackle tough issues. On behalf of our dedicated City Council and city staff, I present you with the second installment in a series of five, short, weekly COVID-19-related State of the City Addresses.

The Santa Barbara City Council and I want to thank each of you for doing your part to follow public health directives – including faithfully wearing your face covering in public whenever possible and keeping with social distancing protocols. Your cooperation fuels a shared spirit and sense of duty to your neighbors.

Just over nine weeks ago, our nation was jolted by a pandemic outbreak that will leave an indelible emotional and financial mark here at home. Santa Barbarans heeded the call and did their part – safer-at-home.

Just over five weeks ago, public health officials were STILL bracing for the possibility of an onslaught in cases to sweep our region. And local hospitals were gearing up their emergency protocols and bed space for potential critically ill patients.

Thankfully, today – because we followed instituted public health measures and a faithful execution of social distancing – worry has been replaced by evidenced-based data that tangibly demonstrates our region has thus far largely avoided the fate, which other parts of the Country have befallen.

All Santa Barbarans – from schoolchildren to moms and dads to the business entrepreneur – each have made a sacrifice above self. Because of that we are now at the place in which we can enjoy cautious optimism about our future.

Last Thursday, following the California Governor’s approval, Santa Barbara County’s Public Health Officer laid out criteria necessary to safely re-open retail and restaurant businesses after a self-certification process. Each participating business must now adhere to new public health-oriented measures and social distancing requirements.

Keep in mind – the public health directive does not include hair and nail salons, tattoo parlors, gyms, hotels for tourists, and churches and other faith-based gathering places at this time. According to the Governor, those entities are to remain closed until the State’s Third Phase.

Last Tuesday, the Santa Barbara City Council and I took decisive action to ‘Lift Up Santa Barbara’ and time our response simultaneously with the Public Health Officer’s action to re-open the local economy.

We stood unanimous and ratified all of the preliminary recommendations brought to us by the City’s COVID-19 Business Advisory Taskforce and City staff to allow foodservice businesses to create temporary outdoor dining areas. The Council addressed an array of citywide compromises to allow businesses to expand onto the public space consistent with their individual neighborhood dynamic.

The vision is to allow outdoor dining on sidewalks, on-street parking spaces, some closed streets, and on private property to support the re-opening and recovery of the City’s foodservice businesses. This effort aims to stimulate and support our local businesses’ financial stability. We have over 400 restaurants and cafes in our community – many of them locally owned – and they employ thousands of workers.

Each week, I salute one determined local business owner – successfully navigating the phased re-opening. Twenty-five-year Santa Barbra resident, community advocate and civic business advisor, Sherry Villanueva, owns Acme Hospitality in the Funk Zone. This woman-owned family business employs 350 local foodservice personnel across eight Santa Barbara-based eateries. Flagship restaurants include The Lark, Loquita, and Tyger:Tyger – each anchored in the heart of the Funk Zone.

During the last several weeks, Sherry rolled up her sleeves and volunteered herself and staff to distribute thousands of ready-to-serve meals on a daily basis to non-profits Santa Barbara ACT and the local Foodbank. Sherry is the perfect entrepreneurial example of service above self. Sherry – on behalf of a grateful City – thank you for doing your part to ‘Lift Up Santa Barbara.’ 

One of the most exciting aspects as we lean forward is a plan to open portions of State Street as a pedestrian promenade, to accommodate social distancing from Haley Street to Sola Street. This pedestrian plaza allows adjacent foodservice businesses the option of setting up outdoor dining areas. In turn, the public will have ample room to stroll in a safe and social-distanced manner. Pedestrians are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings within the pedestrian plaza, which will be open daily from 7 A.M. to 10 P.M. Take advantage of free parking in City Parking Lots for the time being.

The City Council and I gave City Administrator, Paul Casey, broad emergency authority to set the initiative in motion. Staff will return to Council on Wednesday, May 27 to ratify the legislative package.

Additionally, city staff will hold a city-jurisdiction-specific, business-oriented California Alcoholic Beverage Control licensing workshop. The meeting will be facilitated to help foodservice businesses who need help navigating the expansion of their current alcohol license onto the outdoor dining space.

On Wednesday, May 27, 2020 at 10:30 A.M. to noon, staff will help business owners fill out necessary documentation and draft the required planned license diagram. A State ABC technical expert will also be on hand to help answer questions. After the workshop, the City will facilitate a Thursday document drop off location in the City to expedite the State ABC process. Local alcohol-licensed businesses can sign up ahead of time on the City’s website.

The City has also established a dedicated bilingual hotline and email address to respond to foodservice business inquiries at or 805-560-7520.

Councilmembers Alejandra Gutierrez and Oscar Gutierrez will join me in hosting a Spanish-language business workshop this Thursday at 9 A.M. More information about this initiative will be posted this week for our Spanish language media.

Last, I’d like to take pause – and take in what each of us has collectively accomplished thus far. Our continued success is possible because we have been working in unison. We Lift Up Santa Barbara together.

I particularly want to take note of the tireless effort of a 24/7 City staff. Our frontline workers – from first responders, park and rec staff, public works, waterfront, Library and airport personnel – this is just another day that they give their whole self  to ensure we are all safe, sound and well taken care of. We thank each of them for their dedication.

Remember we are in a marathon and not a sprint – the virus is not gone away and we must remain vigilant. Wear a face covering and abide by public health directives and we​’ll continue to get through this together.

Thank you Santa Barbara. Rest assured, the City of Santa Barbara is dedicated to your health and well-being.

Mayor Cathy Murillo State of the City address

Spanish translation can be found here.

This latest address was released prior to Santa Barbara County's updated health order which allows for the reopening of barbershops and hair salons.

Coronavirus / Health / Local Politics
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Travis Schlepp

Travis Schlepp is the Digital Content Director for NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Travis, click here.

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