SANTA BARBARA, Calif.- The Santa Barbara City Council was persuaded to vote unanimously to allow some restaurants and bar/restaurants to stay open until 12:30 a.m. They had been closing at 10 p.m. regardless of their license to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The vote takes effect immediately in the Central Business District, the Funk Zone, and Coast Village Road.
Mayor Cathy Murillo said the business owners want to offer diners, especially during summer, an opportunity to have a late diner. She said it will help the businesses survive the pandemic. The council will make sure they comply with county health rules.
Meanwhile, during its latest COVID-19 conference Santa Barbara County Public Health leaders reported the death of someone in their 70s with underlying conditions who lived at a care facility in Santa Barbara.
Public Health will assist with testing at 11 care facilities to prevent outbreaks.
The county also reported new positive COVID-19 cases in Santa Barbara, Goleta, Isla Vista, Lompoc, Santa Maria, Orcutt, and unincorporated areas of Gaviota and north county.
If a worker tests positive Santa Barbara County's public emergency preparedness manager Jan Koegler said there are steps they should take.
"Employees should tell their employer if they test positive or if someone in their household tests positive," said Koegler.
She said employers should tell the employee to stay home and self-isolate and determine the last day the worked and whether they were within 6- feet of anyone for more than 15-minutes a couple of days before they had symptoms or before they got tested.
"Make a list of employees, contractors and others who may have been in close contact with the person," said Koegler. Those people should be instructed to quarantine at home.
Koegler said there is no reason to fear contact tracing because they are committed to confidentiality. "You are not supposed to reveal the name of the employee who tested positive," says Koegler, "while telling folks they may have been in contact with someone."
Public Health staff can help determine when those people can report to work. If someone has symptoms they need to wait at least 10 days before returning to work and the last 24 hours need to be fever-free.
COVID-19 presents with a variety of symptoms so employees should be reminded to stay home with any symptoms including a sore throat, a cough or cold, stomach ache, loss of taste or smell, or a headache. Even mild symptoms are a reason to stay home.
Dr. Charles Fenzi wants to remind young people they are not immune to the virus. "I think young people had the idea they weren't going to get it," said Dr. Fenzi.
He said it is probably safer at neighborhood clinics than outside in the community due to the care they are taking to keep things clean and to see people online and in their cars.
Supervisor Gregg Hart said they are counting on personal responsibility and making good decisions.
"We are all trying to get on the same page in regards to enforcement and enforcement tools so we can have the maximum impact on behavior and in the least intrusive way," said Hart.
Personal hygeine, masks wearing and physical distances are key to keeping people healthy and employed.