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Santa Barbara County prepares for Halloween during COVID-19

Blake DeVine/KEYT
The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department has released guidance for celebrating Halloween during the COVID-19 pandemic.

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. — After weeks of waiting, Santa Barbara County has moved into the less restrictive red tier of California’s reopening plan. 

According to the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, last week the county’s adjusted case rate was 6.7 per 100,000 and this week it’s 4.5.

“Our transmission rates have remained on a steady,” public health officer Henning Ansorg said. “We are seeing a lower percentage of positive tests throughout the county.”

This will allow for limited capacity at theaters, museums and places of worship (up to 100 people.)

Gyms can now move back indoors at 10 percent capacity. 

Personal care services can also open indoors with certain modifications.

Furthermore, restaurants can resume indoor dining at 25 percent capacity.

“Please consider visiting local businesses this weekend,” second district supervisor Gregg Hart said. “They’ll be happy to see you and they’ve been preparing for months to safely welcome you back inside their business.”

Despite this step in the right direction, county officials fear that Halloween may hamper recent progress. 

"We're less than a month away,” Hart said. “Like many other things, Halloween must look different this year."

Tonight, the county health department released its COVID-19 Halloween guidance.

This advises community members to handout goodies with tongs or a grabber, wear masks with costumes, stick to social bubbles and maintain six-foot social distance from others while trick-or-treating.

"A safe Halloween during the COVID-19 pandemic is going to look and feel a little different this year,” public health director Van Do-Reynoso said.

If the county remains in the red tier for two weeks, all K through 12 schools will have the permission to switch over to in-person instruction on Tuesday, October 13. 

Thus far, 21 local elementary schools have received waivers to reopen.

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County

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Blake DeVine

Blake DeVine is a multimedia journalist and sports anchor at News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Blake, click here.


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