SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Visitation at Country Oaks Care Center in Santa Maria has shut down since Santa Barbara County was moved back into the 'Purple Tier' of the state's reopening plan.
From a distance, Renee Espinoza leans over the gate trying to speak to her grandmother who’s inside her room at Country Oaks Care Center. “I’m very disappointed because I thought the cases were going down and then they ended up going back up. I thought places like this were going to be open and it’s just shutting down even harder,” said Renee.
Santa Barbara County moved back to the most restrictive purple tier of the state's reopening plan last week.
For Renee, it means she can’t visit her grandmother. “I miss her so much. I haven’t been able to hug her since like, I don’t know, March,” said Renee.
Owners of the care center, which was once the center of a deadly COVID-19 outbreak, are disappointed for residents who can't be with their loved ones on Thanksgiving Day.
"Some of our residents suffer with depression and the seasons not any easier," said co-owner Sharon Henning at Country Oaks Care Center.
While residents won’t be able to visit with their loved ones, the care center is making sure everyone gets a special thanksgiving meal.
“We have a special menu for Thanksgiving with the turkey and the cranberries and all the stuff that people have on Thanksgiving, yes we will still be doing that,” said co-owner John Henning at Country Oaks Care Center.
in the meantime, Renee hopes a vaccine will become available soon. "You know, she likes going shopping and stuff like that, and she’s really independent, but you know because of COVID, she can’t leave the building. And she asked us to come in but we can’t. We have to explain to her that we can’t," said Renee.