Santa Barbara County Approved by the State For Accelerated Reopening

May 21, 2020

Santa Barbara County Approved by the State For Accelerated Reopening

County Also Announces New Program to Allow Small Businesses to Expand in the Public Right-of-Way in the Unincorporated County to Accommodate Physical Distancing and Safety Standards

The County of Santa Barbara received approval from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to move forward on an accelerated Stage 2 path to reopening. With this approval, Santa Barbara County restaurants can now offer dine-in service (other facility amenities, like bars or gaming areas, are not permitted) and retail businesses with exterior facing entrances are permitted to have customers inside of their stores. Destination retail includes shopping malls and swap meets.

“This is an exciting next step for our entire community and we are thankful for the diligent cooperation of residents,” said Van Do-Reynoso, Director for the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department. “As local businesses work through reopening we encourage them to adhere to physical distancing and hygiene guidelines while educating both staff and customers of new practices.” 

On Tuesday, May 19, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the County’s draft attestation for the business readiness criteria that was submitted to the state Department of Public Health the same day. The attestation documents demonstrate that the County is meeting state standards for safely reopening. In a quick turnaround, the attestation was approved by the state last evening (May 20), paving the way for a new health officer order issued today from the County Department of Public Health.

“This next phase of our reopening process will help get more Santa Barbara County residents back to work, while ensuring that local businesses modify operations to keep their customers and workers safe,” said County Supervisor Gregg Hart, Chair of the Board. “As we reopen additional businesses, we must all continue to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while out in the community. Let’s work together to safely support our local businesses as we progress through our COVID-19 response and recovery.”

The types of businesses allowed to reopen in this latter phase of Stage 2 include dine-in restaurants (with modifications), schools and child care, retail stores and shopping malls, and some offices. Higher risk businesses, such as hair and nail salons, gyms, churches and hotels for non-essential stays, are identified to reopen in Stage 3, but not before Governor Newsom declares eligible counties can move into Stage 3. 

Before the businesses can reopen in Santa Barbara County, they are required to review state and local guidance, complete a COVID-19 Prevention Plan, and self-certify that they can open safely; all of which can be found at Upon completion of the self-certification, businesses receive a certificate to print and display attesting to a safe and clean environment for workers and customers.  

To assist businesses, the County created template signage in English and Spanish depicting disinfection control and physical distancing for workplace and customer safety. The templates are available to download on the County’s Public Health COVID-19 website at and with the RISE Guide at

Santa Barbara County RISE Guide:

The Santa Barbara County RISE Guide, or Reopening In Safe Environment, was developed within the framework of Governor Newsom’s Resilience Roadmap by medical and public health experts and supported by feedback from many sectors of the community to create a science-based framework for residents, businesses and organizations by which to reopen in a staged manner, while prioritizing public health and protecting our most vulnerable populations. The reopening approach is broken down into four phases, each with public health criteria for moving to and from phases:

  • Stage 1: Safety & Preparedness
  • Stage 2: Lower Risk Workplaces
  • Stage 3: Higher Risk Workplaces
  • Stage 4: End of Stay-at-Home Order

The RISE Guide is available for public review and feedback at


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