Businesses across San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties are being asked to close once again after California’s governor "pulled the emergency brake" on COVID-19 reopening plans.
Monday afternoon Gavin Newsom announced starting Tuesday, 28 counties are returning to the purple tier, meaning that restaurants return to all-outdoor dining or to-go orders only, and indoor gyms and church services stop.
State health officials say the backward steps are necessary because California is seeing the fastest increase of new COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began last spring, and that swift action is needed to slow the spread of the virus.
The reversal has an exception for local elementary schools that have already reopened some in-person instruction. Those schools can remain open, said SLO County public health spokesperson Michelle Shoresman.
“Elementary schools can continue to submit waiver applications for approval to the county public health department, if they would like to open while we remain in purple,” Shoresman said. “This is the same process that was in place when our county was in the Purple Tier before.”
Any schools that have not reopened are barred from doing so until San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties are in the red tier once again.
According to SLO County health officials, the county’s public health department is “working with the county office of education, public and private schools to help ensure all schools operate in accordance with state and county guidelines.”
“If you have concerns regarding your children's school, we encourage you to speak to the school directly regarding your concern,” says the county.
Monterey County has been in the most restrictive purple tier since the new system was announced.