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Friday, May 22, 2020

Santa Barbara County health order allows businesses to expand outdoors

Posted By on Fri, May 22, 2020 at 4:34 PM

After demonstrating that the Santa Barbara County is meeting state standards for safely reopening, and successfully gaining state approval to do so, County Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg issued a new health officer order on May 21 to officially allow additional business and workplace reopenings.

click to enlarge NEW ORDER Santa Barbara County restaurants are now allowed to be open for dine-in customers, with modifications. - FILE PHOTO COURTESY OF SY KITCHEN BY ROB STARK
  • NEW ORDER Santa Barbara County restaurants are now allowed to be open for dine-in customers, with modifications.
“The types of businesses allowed to reopen in this latter phase of Stage 2 include dine-in restaurants (with modifications), schools and child care, retail stores and shopping malls, and some offices,” a May 21 press release from the county’s Public Health Department states.

Santa Maria Public Information Officer Mark van de Kamp told the Sun what this new order means for local businesses.

“On Wednesday of this week, the state told the county they could move into late stage 2, so then everybody had to wait for [Ansorg] to issue a health order,” van de Kamp said. “That’s what gave the green light for those businesses to now move forward with doing the self-certification, filling out the forms, and making sure that they have all the measures in place to keep their customers and the workers safe.”

These include businesses completing a COVID-19 Prevention Plan and self-certifying that they can open safely. All these requirements are detailed on Recovery SBC’s Reopen Your Business webpage.

The county’s May 21 press release also announced the Small Business and Community Partnership Enhancement Program, which “allows businesses or other organizations to expand into adjacent public right-of-way outdoor areas in the unincorporated areas of the county to accommodate required social and physical distancing protocols and safe practices.”

Soon, the release stated, the program will also “allow expansion onto private property, such as parking lots.”

While this allowance affects only the unincorporated areas in the county, the city of Santa Maria launched a similar program on May 22 that allows some businesses to temporarily utilize parking spots and lots for their operations. Such an allowance would give restaurants, for example, the ability to seat more patrons outdoors and increase their safe capacity.

“Retail businesses and restaurants may designate non-ADA parking stalls as assigned parking areas for merchandise or food pick-up, or for delivery services,” a May 22 city press release stated. “Restaurants may use their parking lot to establish outdoor dining areas.” ∆

—Malea Martin
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