SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. — After many months of tough times, Santa Barbara County’s winter surge is officially over.
Over the past few weeks, new COVID-19 cases, testing positivity and hospitalization rates have dwindled down.
Allowing the county to enter into the state’s less restrictive red tier.
“It will be announced by the state next Tuesday March 16th that we are in the red tier,” public health director Van Do-Reynoso said.
“This will bring new opportunities for businesses and entertainment venues to open up,” public health officer Henning Ansorg.
This means that restaurants, museums and movie theaters can reopen indoors at 25% capacity.
Gyms can also reopen inside with a limited 10% capacity.
“It also presents us with a challenge to continue to be safe and not fall back into another virus surge,” Ansorg said.
For first time in over a year, secondary schools will return to campus for in-person instruction.
According to a new health officer order, wineries, tasting rooms, breweries and distilleries are no longer required to sell meals in order to operate.
However, the same rules still apply to bars and pubs when it comes to serving food.
“I want to stress that we must stay vigilant,” Do-Reynoso said. “So that we can continue to see a furthering decline in case rates.”
With Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine rolling out in full force, more doses are being delivered than ever before throughout the county.
“By April, we should see a dramatic increase in available vaccine,”Ansorg said. “Hopefully by May everybody who wants a vaccine will be able to get it.”
As things open up once again, health experts hope that new cases continue falling fast.
“I’m hopeful that we are on the right track to finally tackle this pandemic successfully,” Ansorg said.
“We are so very close to the finish line but we really need everyone to be vigilant so that we can cross the finish line,” Do-Reynoso concluded.
Starting next week, people between the ages of 16-64 with severe health conditions are eligible to receive their shots.
To schedule a first dose appointment, visit MyTurn.ca.gov.