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March 3, 2021

State lifts stay-at-home order

Some services, such as outdoor dining, can resume

Outdoor dining and other services can resume after Gov. Gavin Newsom on Jan. 25 ended the state’s regional stay-at-home order based on intensive care unit (ICU) capacity. 

In its place, the state has returned to the Blueprint for a Safer Economy and the color-coded tier system that places most of the 58 counties in the purple, or most restrictive tier.

Under that system, created to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, risk level is based on case numbers and test positivity in individual counties.

Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Benito and Santa Clara counties all fall under the Purple, or Widespread, Tier, meaning that many non-essential indoor business operations remain closed. 

However, the move also means that some activities such as outdoor dining are now allowed to resume immediately, with modifications in place to help slow the spread of Covid-19. 

In addition, personal care services such as hair and nail salons may resume, as can professional and collegiate sports, along with adult and youth recreational sports. 

The new orders also allow for small outdoor gatherings of up to three households, and gatherings up to 200 people are allowed only for political, religious or ceremonial purposes.

Newsom said at a press conference that the decision is based on projected declining rates of Covid-19 cases. 

“Today, we can lay claim to starting to see some real light at the end of the tunnel as it relates to case numbers,” he said.

More details on openings and restrictions by industry or activity in each county are available at covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy

Under the regional system, reopening had been tied to ICU capacity. Santa Cruz County was included in the Bay Area region, which had been under stricter stay-at-home orders since mid-December. 

State officials stressed that the loosening of some restrictions does not mean that Californians should let down their guard when it comes to Covid-19 precautions. Wearing a mask, frequent hand-washing, maintaining a six-foot distance from others and avoiding large gatherings is still essential.

All of this, in addition to several steps state health officials took to keep the virus from spreading, have helped the state emerge from the holiday surge, said California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly, calling the declining numbers “the light at the end of the tunnel we’ve been hoping for.”

“Seven weeks ago, our hospitals and front-line medical workers were stretched to their limits, but Californians heard the urgent message to stay home when possible and our surge after the December holidays did not overwhelm the healthcare system to the degree we had feared,” Ghaly said. 

There have been 136 deaths in Santa Cruz County from Covid-19, according to data last updated Jan. 25 by county health officials. There have been 13,088 known Covid-19 cases in Santa Cruz County, of which 2,319 are known active cases. 

Statewide as of Jan. 24, there have been 3.1 million Covid-19 cases and 36,790 deaths, according to the California Department of Public Health

For local information on Covid-19, visit santacruzhealth.org/coronavirus, call 211 or text “COVID19” to 211211. Residents may also call 831.454.4242 between 8am and 5pm, Monday through Friday.

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