Santa Barbara Co. issues new guidance for golf courses, churches amid pandemic orders

Posted at 4:22 PM, Apr 24, 2020

Santa Barbara County issued new guidance Friday for certain essential businesses operating during the COVID-19 pandemic. The new rules go into effect at 5 p.m. on April 24.

An order from the county health officer states that, "Certain essential businesses may open with modified operations and social distancing protocols including but not limited to public and private golf courses, faith-based organizations, botanical gardens, and more."

Such businesses and organizations must operate under certain conditions, including the implementation of a social distancing protocol.

The social distancing protocol must include the following elements:

  • Limits the number of persons who can enter a facility and work areas, and maintains a minimum six-foot distance from one another at all times.
  • Establishes a protocol for how lines may form, ensuring a minimum of six feet distancing between individuals.
  • Provides for hand sanitizer, soap and water, or other effective disinfectant at or near the entrance of the facility and in other appropriate areas for use by the public and employees and in locations where there is high-frequency employee interaction with the public such as cashier stations.
  • Provides for contact-less payment systems or, if not feasible, institutes a process to disinfect all payment portals, keypads, pens, and styluses after each use for the next customer.
  • Regularly scheduled cleaning and disinfecting all high-touch surfaces.
  • Post signage at the entrance of the facility and work area informing the public and employees that they should avoid entering the facility if they have a cough or fever and must maintain a minimum six-foot distance from one another; sneeze and cough into their elbow, and not shake hands or engage in unnecessary physical contact.
  • Outline of any other additional social distancing measures being implemented.

In addition, faith-based services must be held virtually or outdoors in motor vehicles, and golf courses must limit the number of golfers per group.

The order also allows for other outdoor activities, including visiting botanical gardens, tennis, pickleball, pleasure driving, outdoor housework including gardening, walking, hiking, running, bicycling, going to the beach, and trail walking. However, officials say beach, park, and trail vehicle access and parking will be closed if crowds become an issue.

Click here to read the full order from the county health department.

For more information on the county's response to COVID-19, visit