(SANTA BARBARA, Calif.) – The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) today released guidance recommending that counties on the County Monitoring List for three or more consecutive days, but less than 14 days, close bars through local health officer order. Santa Barbara County is listed in the recommendation issued Sunday. Per CDPH, Santa Barbara County has been on the Monitoring List for 13 days. Santa Barbara County may be mandated to issue a health officer order to close bars given the rising case count locally. The County Health Officer is strongly considering options to address these concerns.

The actions defined in the guidance include the closure of brewpubs, breweries, bars, and pubs, unless they are offering sit-down, dine-in meals. Wineries and tasting rooms are not included in this recommendation. The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department is continuing to track local metrics and will have further updates regarding the State’s recommendation in the coming days.

According to CDPH, bars are social environments where groups of people mix. In these environments, alcohol consumption reduces inhibition and impairs judgment, leading to reduced compliance with recommended core personal protective measures, such as the mandatory use of face coverings and the practice of social and physical distancing. Bars are generally louder environments requiring raised voices leading to the greater projection of droplets. These factors present a higher likelihood of transmission of COVID-19 within groups, between groups, and among the workforce.

“I implore all community members to adhere to strict physical distancing at all times and avoid gatherings. Until there is a vaccine, the use of face coverings in conjunction with physical distancing is the most effective way to stop the spread of this virus,” shared Dr. Henning Ansorg, Health Officer for Santa Barbara County. “The State’s recommendation comes at a critical time. There is a still an opportunity to make a difference in the course of this pandemic, but we must all recommit to this effort.”

Community spread of COVID-19 continues to be a concern across the state, and in particular for counties on the County Monitoring List. To read CDPH’s full release regarding counties with mandatory bar closures and recommended bar closures, click here.

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