San Luis Obispo County

More businesses can reopen effective immediately in San Luis Obispo County. On Tuesday the county’s public health officer said the county has qualified to move into the less-restrictive ‘red tier,’ according to the state’s framework for reducing the number of coronavirus cases.

Firefighters injured in Big Sur's Dolan Fire

Sep 9, 2020
Los Padres National Forest

Three firefighters were injured Tuesday morning when the Dolan Fire in Big Sur burned a remote fire station. The fire has consumed more than 125 square miles, after growing significantly since Monday.

Valley View Adventist Academy

While most local students started the 2020/2021 school year with online learning, 13 private elementary schools around San Luis Obispo County have been granted waivers to allow in-person instruction.

Courtesy of Adam Hill campaign

Friends, colleagues and even California’s governor are mourning the sudden death of San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Adam Hill, after he was found dead at his Shell Beach home on August 6.

San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Adam Hill is dead at age 54. He was found unresponsive Thursday afternoon, and as of Thursday evening, a heavy police presence remained at his home. A Pismo Beach police officer confirmed Hill had died, but said he could not confirm a cause of death at this time. 

SLO County

San Luis Obispo County is seeing an uptick in fraud connected with credit card skimmers, officials say.

Recently, county inspectors say they’ve found 16 card skimmers at three different gas stations around the county and they aren't sure just how widespread the problem is.

Courtesy of Cayucos Elementary

Some elementary schools in San Luis Obispo County are now filing paperwork trying to get permission to reopen for in-person classes in the fall. It involves asking for a waiver from the county public health department.

Angel Russell/KCBX

In an effort to help restaurants stay open during the COVID-19 shutdowns, cities across the Central Coast are allowing restaurants to set up tables outdoors on sidewalks, parking lots and in parklets. Some places—like San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara—are shutting down streets for eateries to expand and use for seating.

But business owners in Pismo Beach say they can’t get the city to budge on similar expansion requests.

Greta Mart/KCBX

After three days on the state’s watchlist for COVID-19 cases, San Luis Obispo County is now back under the kind of closure orders experienced in March, April and May. All bars are closed. Starting Thursday, gyms, churches, most offices, salons and malls are ordered to close down all indoor operations.

In a unanimous decision by the Lucia Mar Unified School District Board of Education, more than 10,000 students within the district's 19 schools will be starting the 2020-2021 academic year virtually.

Angel Russell/KCBX

Despite weeks of assurances from county and state officials, not everybody who wants a COVID-19 test can get one, especially now. On July 9 San Luis Obispo County’s health officer said there’s not enough capacity to meet the huge increase in demand for testing, and she asked people with no symptoms to not seek a test at this time, only essential workers.

Courtesy of Facebook

Grover Beach police are searching for the vandal or vandals who spray-painted racist graffiti along the outside walls of a local elementary school.

All bars across San Luis Obispo County are now ordered to close for the weekend, to "avoid large congregations of individuals in close proximity within a confined space."

Marco Bruschi

Younger adults are contributing to the rise in COVID-19 cases in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, and a spike in confirmed cases statewide has led California's governor to reinstate shut-down orders for all bars, pubs and brewpubs. And while not ordered to do so, San Luis Obispo city officials announced Wednesday that the city's bars must too close as of July 2. 

Issues & Ideas: Flying at SBP, job losses for undocumented workers and GALA pride

Jun 26, 2020

On this episdoe of Issues & Ideas, San Luis Obispo author Nicholas Belardes talks about growing up in Bakersfield and going to a high school steeped in Confederate symbolism. A new report from UC Merced shows undocumented workers have been hit hard when it comes to job loss during the pandemic, especially women in non-essential jobs. SLO County Regional Airport director Kevin Bumen discusses the current protocol of transiting through the airport, in-flight COVID-19 precautions and the state of the airline industry as people are beginning to think about traveling again. Michelle Call of  the Central Coast's Gay and Lesbian Alliance, or GALA, gives us an update on local happenings during Pride Month. And finally, we learn how sea otters may be keeping our estuaries’ underwater plants healthy.

Courtesy Ryan Joiner

California is giving the green light for movie theaters and gyms to reopen as of June 12, but not all businesses will be ready. KCBX News spoke to local gym and movie theater owners to find out what the hold up is and what it’ll be like for customers once doors reopen.

The use of face coverings or masks has become one of the biggest debates nationwide during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Santa Barbara and Monterey counties have adopted a mandatory mask ordinance. But in San Luis Obispo County, it’s up to individual towns to decide.

Wikimedia commons

While stay-at-home orders remain in place statewide, people experiencing homelessness have been particularly vulnerable during the pandemic. To try to help that population, in early April, California’s governor announced Project Roomkey, saying a federal agency would pay 75% of the cost to house homeless individuals in hotels and motels across the state.

But how many hotel and motel rooms are actually currently housing homeless people on the Central Coast?

Angel Russell/KCBX

Retail, hair salons and in-restaurant dining services are reopening in San Luis Obispo County after weeks of closure, but the pandemic has changed the landscape of business as usual.

On this episdoe of Issues & Ideas, we hear from a SLO County infectious disease physician who is a key player in paving the way out of the pandemic shutdown; and from SLO supervisor Lynn Compton, who gives an update on the current status of the county's reopening plan. A founder of Lighthouse Atascadero talks about how the nonprofit has helped young people fight addiction since 1994, and how its programs have grown over the years. We’ll follow Father Ian as he hunts for local wild yeast in “Playing With Food,” capturing some yeast near a patch of poison oak and baking with it. And finally, we learn more about a fatal shark attack earlier in the month in waters off a state beach near Watsonville.

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer talks with the city manager of Morro Bay, Scott Collins, about the local government's response to the pandemic shutdown. As a popular seaside travel destination in recent decades, the economic health of Morro Bay has been dependent on tax revenue generated by hotel occupancy, retail sales, and rental income from waterfront business leases—all of which have plummeted due to COVID-19. For the first time in modern history, Morro Bay has instituted reverse tourism promotions to discourage visitors and vacationers.

In contrast to decades of positioning itself as a travel destination, this week San Luis Obispo County started airing online ads aimed at discouraging tourism from the Central Valley and elsewhere. On Friday, county officials went a step further.

Nursing homes have been ravaged by coronavirus throughout the nation. Data shows that people who reside or work in long-term care facilities have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, and a new report shows that as of April 23, 2020 there have been over 10,000 reported deaths due to COVID-19 in long-term care facilities (including residents and staff), in the 23 states that publicly report death data, representing 27% of deaths due to COVID-19 in those states.  So how is the Central Coast responding to the threat of COVID-19 in local long-term care facilities? What is being done to protect both residents and employees? And what is the future of nursing homes?

On this episode of Issues & Ideas, the SLO Chamber of Commerce's Jim Dantona speaks with SLO County health officer Dr. Penny Borenstein—not just about public health issues, but Borenstein's personal path to the job that, before the current pandemic, was not often in the public spotlight. We visit with a retired pilot, Captain Karen Kahn, one of the first female pilots hired to fly with a commercial airline, and learn more about a nonprofit—where Kahn is a mentor—that teaches Santa Barbara-area youth all aspects of aviation and, ultimately, how to fly a plane. Tom Wilmer speaks with Christine Johnson, executive director of the Central Coast Aquarium, about the Avila aquarium and the planned Morro Bay expansion. Finally, Monterey County organizations pick up the phone to check in with people during the shutdown. 

San Luis Obispo County officials have released a framework for reopening the county—called the START guide—emphasizing that it's a draft outline. At times contradictory, nevertheless the guide is designed to “give our business partners, our organizations, places of worship the best ideas about how they can begin planning in the days and weeks to come,” said the county’s health officer.

SLO County

On Wednesday, the name of San Luis Obispo County’s reopening plan was revealed—the START guide, or ‘Steps To Adapt and Reopen Together.’ Expected to be released Friday, county health officer Dr. Penny Borenstein said it’s not going to be a set-in-stone plan.

SLO County

As part of the recent federal stimulus funding, Congress gave $10 billion dollars to the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA is now tasked with dolling out that money to airports across the country to help them weather a near-shut down of air travel and commerce.

Fr. Ian Delinger

Agriculture plays a crucial role in the economy of both California and the Central Coast. KCBX's Greta Mart talks with Brent Burchett, executive director of the SLO County Farm Bureau, about a variety of local agricultural issues and challenges for the county's farmers.

Wikimedia commons

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in San Luis Obispo County has slowed in recent days, say county health officials, but they are urging people with symptoms to get tested.

Greta Mart/KCBX

Mindbody is a health and wellness technology company headquartered in San Luis Obispo, with offices in Santa Maria and around the world. While the current stay-at-home situation may be good for some tech companies, like Zoom, for Mindbody this is not the case. On Thursday, the company announced it is laying off or furloughing thirty-five percent of its workforce. 

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