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Indoor operations in Santa Barbara County ordered to remain closed into September
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Indoor operations in Santa Barbara County ordered to remain closed into September

Indoor operations that include places of worship, salons, gyms and nonessential offices in Santa Barbara County were ordered to remain closed until 5 p.m. Sept. 10 in a health order issued Wednesday by the county's Public Health Department. 

The new health order extends the mandate handed down July 13 after certain indoor operations were ordered to close after COVID-19 cases began to spike again.

Health officials also outlined additional restrictions on higher education institutions, parties and receptions, rodeos and organized sports in the new order.

In regard to higher education institutions, the order prohibits all indoor lectures at colleges, universities, adult education centers and trade centers. Courses normally offered in specialized indoor settings, including labs and studio classes, will be allowed. 

While professional sports teams are permitted to play without a live audience and outdoor youth sports training can continue, all other organized adult and amateur team sports are not permitted at this time, according to the order. 

Gatherings also are prohibited, including indoor protests, and residents are instructed to only gather with those in their own household.  

"Gatherings are defined as an event or convening that brings together people from different households in a single room or space at the same time in any indoor or outdoor space whether public or private," the order reads. 

Exceptions to the mandate include gatherings in a work setting, outdoor recreational activities such as walking, biking, hiking or jogging, congregate living situations including dormitories or homeless encampments, and outdoor worship or wedding ceremonies, cultural events or outdoor protests. 

While outdoor wedding ceremonies are permitted, wedding receptions are not, as they fall under the parties and receptions category. 

With all these exceptions, physical distancing of at least 6 feet must be maintained between individuals. 

To the extent to which businesses are open, the order clarifies that individuals are permitted to leave their homes for work, patronize businesses, and engage in permitted activities as long as distancing is maintained and all local and state health orders are followed. 

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Santa Maria City Reporter

Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Laura Place covers city government, policy and elections in Santa Maria and Santa Barbara County. Follow her on Twitter @itslaurasplace

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