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California

Ventura County to extend stay-at-home order while continuing to ease restrictions

Health officials in Ventura County are expected to extend the area’s stay-at-home order, which was put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus and is scheduled to expire Sunday.

The updated directive will continue to ease restrictions prompted by the pandemic while extending the need for social distancing, health officials said.

Ventura County was the first in Southern California to receive approval from the state to begin lifting restrictions on businesses and outdoor spaces that had been shuttered. Health officer Dr. Robert Levin said that such progress is key to residents’ mental and physical health, as is the continued need to quarantine and avoid gatherings.

“We need to continue — in between the times that we are enjoying some of these other steps we’ve taken — to quarantine and we need to constantly be social distancing,” Levin said at a Board of Supervisors meeting Thursday. “We cannot afford a setback.”

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The county’s decision to permit passive use follows similar action in the coastal cities of Ventura, Oxnard and Port Hueneme.

Ventura County has the 17th highest number of coronavirus cases among the state’s 58 counties. To date, officials have confirmed more than 1,060 cases and 32 deaths. Those numbers have steadily declined over the past several weeks. Levin credits residents’ adherence to social distancing practices with that number.

“This county’s behavior has been amazing,” he said.

Gov. Gavin Newsom previously gave the county the green light to reopen hair salons and barbershops as well as allow for in-store shopping and in-person dining. Levin said the county’s revised order will also permit places of worship to reopen with gatherings of up 100, a change that will also allow for funeral services.

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Pools run by apartment complexes and homeowners associations, where individuals and families can make appointments to use, will be allowed to reopen. The revised health orders do not include pools at athletic clubs, hotels or motels.

Golf courses, which were reopened last month, will now allow single individuals to use motorized carts. Putting greens also will be allowed to reopen.

In-person graduation ceremonies are still not allowed under the state’s order. Levin said that the county allows for car ceremonies where graduates can leave a vehicle to pick up a diploma and take a photo at a staged area before returning to their car. Car occupants are limited to the same household.

Although other parts of Southern California say residents must wear face masks in public, Ventura County’s health officer won’t mandate the practice.

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It’s unclear how long the revised health order will be extended, but Supervisor Kelly Long said it will not run indefinitely.

“It’s not a blanket order going on until July,” she said.


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