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Friday, June 26, 2020

Santa Barbara County OKs reopening of personal care services

Posted By on Fri, Jun 26, 2020 at 1:56 PM

About a week after Santa Barbara County paused its reopening efforts amid an increase in COVID-19 cases, the county announced more businesses can reopen.

Over the past few weeks, the county has experienced a surge in the number of people hospitalized with the virus. On June 1, 29 county residents were in the hospital recovering from the virus. This number more than doubled to 61 as of June 25, according to county data. Part of this increase is attributable to COVID-19 outbreaks at senior care facilities.

As a result of this increase, the county announced on June 18 that personal care services, such as tattoo shops and nail salons, would remain closed, despite the state allowing them to open. In a statement the Public Health Department released at the time, county Health Officer Henning Ansorg said this decision was made “out of an abundance of caution and safety of all community members.”
GREEN LIGHT Personal care services in Santa Barbara County can reopen despite an uptick in COVID-19 hospitalizations. - IMAGE COURTESY OF SANTA BARBARA COUNTY
  • GREEN LIGHT Personal care services in Santa Barbara County can reopen despite an uptick in COVID-19 hospitalizations.

But with little change in the number of people hospitalized, Ansorg issued an order on June 25 to permit the reopening of personal care businesses that were previously closed. These businesses can reopen as soon as June 26 with modifications in place and after completing an attestation process through the county, according to a news release.

While the county is moving forward with reopening in some regards, it’s not in others. After planning to reopen soon, a representative with the Community Action Commission of Santa Barbara County told the Sun that the nonprofit is delaying restarting its Head Start preschools until August. This is a federally funded program that services low-income families.

The commission’s nearly 900 preschool children had to stop attending in-person class on March 13, due to countywide health orders. The commission had planned on restarting services across its 24 locations for students enrolled in its full-day program on July 6, but it’s since decided against this amid the increase in local COVID-19 cases, Child Services Director Lorraine Neenan said.

“In consideration of the mid-June increase in cases of Coronavirus in Santa Barbara County, we will not re-open our classrooms in July,” Neenan said in an email to the Sun. “We will continue to provide virtual, learning-from-home activities with weekly lesson plans, weekly calls by teachers to children, and weekly wellness calls by family advocates to parents/guardians.”
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