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Supervisors expected to see Santa Barbara County reopening guide Tuesday

Supervisors expected to see Santa Barbara County reopening guide Tuesday

A roadmap for businesses to reopen their doors in Santa Barbara County is expected to be delivered to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday next week, but the document is expected to evolve as state guidelines change, county staff said.

“This is a living document,” said Nancy Anderson, assistant county executive officer. “It’s not a one-and-done product.”

Dubbed the RISE Guide, for Reopening in Safe Environment Guide, the document will be posted on the ReadySBC website with a feature that will allow the public to comment on it.

Comments will be considered as the guide evolves.

Anderson said the guide will be formatted similar to the state’s Resilience Roadmap and incorporate the criteria it sets out, but it will be unique to the county’s industries and demographics by including segments like farmworkers and immigrants.

She said it will contain local best-practice guidelines for not only the second but also the third and fourth stages of returning the economy to normal.

The guide is being developed using suggestions and recommendations provided by roundtable discussions, most of which took place last week, involving representatives from various county industries.

Two more meetings are scheduled this week, she said, noting the meetings produced a tremendous amount of information that has to be sifted through by a panel of experts and incorporated into the guide.

“I think this work is critical, given how many people have lost their jobs and how many are under threat of losing their businesses, and the health-care system does need an economy to support it, too,” 1st District Supervisor Das Williams said.

“And I think part of people’s mental health and part of people’s economic health has the same underlying need, which is the need for a light at the end of the tunnel, a need for hope,” he said.

“And my hope is that this plan, whether we need it next week or we need it in a couple weeks, can provide people with a little bit of a roadmap and provide people with the hope that they need to keep on trying,” Williams continued.

“Because I do think if people can retain hope in this dark hour, they will, you know, avoid thoughts of suicidiality, they will keep on looking for that other job that might be out there, they will try to save that business, try to stick it out, and that will of course save other people’s jobs and livelihoods if they do retain that hope.

“So I guess the subscript of this project, in my view, should be ‘keep hope alive,’ because that is for so many workers and so many businesses what this is really about.”

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County Reporter/Associate Editor

Lee Central Coast Newspapers associate editor Mike Hodgson covers Santa Barbara County government and events and issues in Santa Ynez Valley. Follow him on Twitter @MHodgsonSYVNews.

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