Written by Jade Martinez-Pogue, Noozhawk | Reference Source
After more than a month in the red tier of the state’s tiered COVID-19 reopening framework, Santa Barbara County advanced to the orange tier on Tuesday, which allows higher indoor capacity for businesses and fewer public health restrictions.
The county reported an adjusted case rate of 4.5 daily new cases per 100,000 people, a 1.8% testing positivity rate, and a 1.7% health equity testing positivity rate, Public Health Director Van Do-Reynoso shared at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting.
After meeting the low thresholds for the orange tier for two weeks, the county advanced on Tuesday, and a local public health officer order with the new guidelines will go into effect Wednesday morning.
“We are here, we are solidly in the orange tier,” Do-Reynoso said.
Under the orange tier, all retail can open at 100% capacity with modifications including face coverings for staff and customers, and indoor dining, museums, zoos, aquariums, and movie theaters can all increase capacity to 50%, and gyms and fitness centers can increase indoor capacity to 25%. Indoor pools at hotels and gyms and other facilities can reopen as well.
The orange tier also comes with the ability to have more people attend private events and gatherings. Social and informal outdoor gatherings can accommodate up to 50 people without a defined guest list or proof of testing or vaccination requirement.
While indoor gatherings are strongly discouraged, they are allowed under the orange tier with 25 people or 25% of the venue's capacity, whichever is fewer, according to the state.
Private events can have 100 people outdoors, or 300 if they all have negative COVID-19 tests or vaccinations, and indoor private events can have 150 people with proof of negative tests or vaccination, according to the state.
Do-Reynoso defined private events as meetings, conferences, wedding receptions, or similar events where hosts have a defined guest list and ability to verify testing or vaccination requirements. Gatherings are less formal, like a get-together at your home or in your backyard, she said.
Do-Reynoso said she anticipates the new health officer order to be issued on Tuesday night, and the changes will go into effect Wednesday morning at 8 a.m.