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Business, government leaders host briefing to explain COVID-19 tier system

Posted at 7:27 PM, Sep 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-02 23:09:21-04

With the unveiling of California's new COVID-19 tier system, Santa Barbara County wants to help residents and businesses understand what this means for them in terms of re-opening.

Some local restaurants say they just hope to be able to open within the next month.

"We are looking forward to opening up in the next phase where we can do indoor and outdoor at the same time and then just go back to completely indoor later," said Jason Ontiveros, assistant manager at Casa Mañana in Santa Maria.

Santa Barbara county chambers of commerce along with representatives from cities including Lompoc, Santa Maria, and Solvang took part in a business briefing Wednesday to explain the new COVID-19 tier system.

The presentation touched on the possibility of the county moving to the next tier that would allow businesses like restaurants to re-open inside at 25 percent capacity.

As of right now, Santa Barbara County is at the highest tier which only allows hair salons, retail, and shopping centers to open with modifications.

Other businesses say constant changes can be hard to keep up with.

"It makes it hard for businesses to adjust super fast if we can get kind of notice like, 'hey, this is what's going on so be prepared,' that would be better," Ontiveros said.

That issue is something county officials say they are now working on with the new tier system in place.

"I know that's one of the issues that's come up in the past where literally within a day people are having to change their work environment and notify employees in that respect so they are giving three days to give plenty notice on that," said Santa Barbara County Assistant County Executive Officer Nancy Anderson.

County officials say that even if cases continue on a downward trend, there's no timeline right not as to when the county could move into the next tier.

In order to move to the next tier, a county must demonstrate they can meet the goals of the less restrictive tier for a minimum of two weeks.