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Santa Barbara County on track to move into the orange tier next week

Santa Barbara County Public Health.png
Posted at 5:59 PM, Apr 14, 2021

Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties both have a chance to move into the less restrictive orange tier as early as next week if they continue to keep their numbers where they are now.

This would allow more businesses to ease up restrictions indoors.

"We are going to be very excited because that will be helpful for us and for the customers if they want to have a party or a small group we will accept it and no longer refuse it,” great Scott's pizza owner, Kazem Mashhoon said.

If both counties were to move into the orange tier that would mean:

  • Restaurants: indoor seating increases to 50 percent capacity; or 200 people maximum
  • Gyms and fitness centers: 25 percent capacity indoors; indoor pools can open
  • Wineries and breweries: 25 percent or; 100 people indoors maximum
  • Movie theaters: 50 percent; or 200 people maximum
  • Museums, zoos, and aquariums: 50 percent capacity for indoor activities
  • Places of worship: 50 percent capacity indoor activities
  • Bars with no food service: open outdoors with modifications
  • All retail: no capacity limits

Not too long ago Santa Barbara County was looking into moving to the orange tier but just missed the mark.

"We were just going below 6, that was the threshold to reach the orange tier and we were going nicely down at 5.4, 5.2, and all of a sudden we jumped back up to 6.9,” Santa Barbara Public Health Department Officer, Dr. Henning Ansorg said.

In order for a county to move from the red tier into the orange tier, the case rate has to be 6 per 100,000 and the test positivity rate must be under 4.9.

Right now Santa Barbara County is hitting a 4.6 adjusted case rate and a 1.9 positivity rate.

San Luis Obispo County’s adjusted case rate is 5.4 with the positivity rate at 2.1.

This time around Dr. Ansorg says he is optimistic it will happen and the county’s lower metrics will stick.

"I would say I am like 95-96 percent convinced that come Tuesday we will be in the orange,” Henning said.

If Santa Barbara County meets orange tier metrics again this week, the move to the less restrictive tier could happen as early as next Wednesday.

In a statement to KSBY on Wednesday a San Luis Obispo County Health Department spokeswoman said:

“Yesterday we learned that SLO county has met the orange tier metrics for the first time since the state adjusted the tier metrics to account for vaccines distributed to 4 million of our state’s most high-risk individuals. We have met the criteria for one week and must meet them for an additional week before we can officially move into the orange tier. While we are pleased to see this improvement, we've been here before, but unfortunately haven't moved forward as other counties around us have because case counts increased. We are now cautiously optimistic and urge everyone to remain vigilant. This is in the public’s hands. the more we can do to slow the spread of this disease, even as we continue to vaccinate more people, the better off our entire community will be and the more restrictions will be lifted.”