Due to Santa Barbara County's status in the state's purple tier, all nonessential gatherings and activities will be restricted from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. beginning this weekend under a limited stay-at-home order, the county Public Health Department announced Thursday.
The order is effective from 10 p.m. Saturday until 5 a.m. Dec. 21, and applies to all 42 counties in the purple tier.
Under the order, all gatherings between different households and nonessential activities are prohibited during these hours. Those not working in essential businesses or completing essential activities are required to stay in their residences, lodging or temporary accommodations after 10 p.m.
Permitted activities include walking the dog, going to the grocery store, picking up prescriptions or completing other essential needs, according to California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly. The order does not apply to those experiencing homelessness.
All nonessential businesses must close by 10 p.m. as well. Restaurants must cease outdoor dining by that time but may continue with takeout and delivery.
With COVID-19 cases spiking throughout the state, public health officials hope the order will prevent disease transmission that occurs when individuals socialize and consume alcohol.
"Activities conducted during 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. are often nonessential and more likely related to social activities and gatherings that have a higher likelihood of leading to reduced inhibition and reduced likelihood to adhere to COVID-19 preventive measures," said county Public Health Department spokeswoman Jackie Ruiz.
The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department confirmed an additional 67 COVID-19 cases on Thursday, leading to a total of 10,768 cases, with 300 still considered active.
Of these new cases, 14 were confirmed in Santa Maria, 10 were confirmed in Santa Barbara and eight were confirmed in both Orcutt and Isla Vista, with the remainder of cases spread throughout other areas of the county.
After reaching all-time lows, the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the county have started to creep upward again. As of Thursday, 19 individuals are hospitalized, including three individuals in the ICU, according to county data.
In the city of Santa Maria, 82 out of 4,380 total cases remain active. Seventy-two individuals have died.
In the community of Orcutt, 20 out of 451 total cases remain active. Six individuals have died.
In the city of Lompoc, 29 out of 1,031 total cases remain active. Eight individuals have died.
In the Santa Ynez Valley, which includes the areas of Solvang, Buellton, Los Olivos, Los Alamos, Santa Ynez and Ballard, 17 out of 210 total cases remain active.
In the unincorporated North County area, which include Sisquoc, Casmalia, Garey, Cuyama, New Cuyama and Guadalupe, 13 out of 494 total cases remain active. Seven individuals have died.
In neighboring San Luis Obispo County, an additional 86 COVID-19 cases and one death as a result of the illness were confirmed Thursday.
A total of 5,486 total cases have been confirmed, with 727 cases still considered active, according to county public health data.
COVID-19 rates among San Luis Obispo residents and those in the 18 to 29 age range continue to skyrocket, according to county public health data.
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