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Santa Barbara- S County

Holiday guidelines put gatherings in the spotlight

Nathalie Vera/
Beth Rangel makes chile relleno tamales on Thanksgiving.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- Public health officers are grappling with holiday guidelines.

California health officials recommend Californians limit backyard and park gatherings to no more than three households for two hours or less.

Local health officers want people to play it safe.

Communities in the red tier of re-openings are still advising against gatherings, but that could change if the COVID-19 case numbers continue to go down in the coming weeks.

Santa Barbara County Public Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg said, "At this time our COVID cases are slightly downtrending, and we want to reach the next tier for more reopening of our businesses, not to mention our schools will be opening, and we do not want to jeopardize this great success we have had as a community. For that reason, we have to be strict with gatherings, we have to abide by our strict guidance for no gatherings for the time being."

This year, Thanksgiving, Christmas and other holidays will look different to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

California weather makes outdoor get-togethers an option in the state.

However, doctors have said people at risk for COVID-19 should not attend gatherings outside their households.

Technology is likely to play a role in celebrations by bringing families together virtually. It may also provide entertainment.

The Santa Barbara City College Concert Band has been posting virtual concert videos on Facebook and YouTube.

Santa Barbara County Department of Behavioral Wellness strategy officer Suzanne Grimmesey said finding a way to honor traditions is important.

"We don't know if guidelines will change on gathering, but what we do know is it's an important time of year, it is a time filled with memories and traditions and a time for gathering with family and friends even if that is done differently," said Grimmesey.

Coronavirus / Health / Holidays / Lifestyle

Tracy Lehr

Tracy Lehr is a reporter and the weekend anchor of KCOY|KEYT|KKFX.


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