Pictured: Harbor Patrol vehicle on Ventura County beach during recent closure during the coronavirus pandemic. Photo by Kimberly Rivers.

by Kimberly Rivers

kimberly@vcreporter.com

Ventura County beaches to close July 3-6

Dr. Robert Levin, health officer with Ventura County Public Health, confirmed on June 30, that Ventura County beaches and parking areas will be closed for the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

Levin said the beaches are being closed because, “I feel it promotes disease transmission to allow larger gatherings of people than are desirable.”

The closure will begin at 5 a.m. on Friday, July 3 and be in effect until 5 a.m. on Monday, July 6. 

A spokesperson for the City of Ventura said they will “support the [county] public health order for its beaches.” 

California State beaches will also be temporarily closed according to a statement issued Wednesday, July 1 by the state to be “in alignment with county public health orders.” Parking facilities at State beaches will also be closed. 

COVID-19 DRIVE-THROUGH TESTING SITES: 
No cost. No insurance needed. No appointment necessary.
– Ventura College, 4667 Telegraph Road, Ventura, Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Moorpark College, 7075 Campus Road, Moorpark, Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Ford Dealership, 128 S. Hallock Dr., Santa Paula, Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Oxnard College, 4000 S. Rose Ave., Oxnard, Friday-Tuesday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

“Please only gather with the people that you live with. Your actions can help save lives,” said Rigo Vargas, director of Ventura County Public Health. “Visiting family and friends still presents a risk of spreading COVID-19. We know people are eager to go out, but we need to remind you on the importance of being safe and protecting yourself and others.”

Los Angeles County has closed beaches for the weekend. 

No live music while dining

Ventura County Public Health has clarified that no live music performances are allowed at restaurants. 

The guidance issued June 29 states, “Establishments that serve full meals must discontinue this type of entertainment until these types of activities are allowed to resume modified or full operation.” It further clarifies that concert, performance and dedicated entertainment venues, “should remain closed until they are allowed to resume modified or full operation through a specific reopening order or guidance.”

No new closures in county – Following press deadline the state required several counties including Ventura County to close all bars and indoor dining. See story HERE. 

On Sunday, June 28, Gov. Gavin Newsom included Ventura County on the list of county’s that should close bars to help stem the increase in cases those areas are seeing. But county officials say the county hasn’t opened those types of businesses. 

“We never opened the type of bars that the state just asked to be closed. We weren’t ready to take that risk yet. So when the state asked that counties close a certain type of bar, we didn’t need to because, out of caution and a reluctance to open businesses too rapidly, we never had,” said Dr. Robert Levin, health officer with Ventura County Public Health (VCPH), responding to the VCReporter via email on June 30. We have done our best to balance the opening of our businesses with the maintenance of social distancing.”

On June 29, VCPH issued guidance and clarification for “all dine-in” businesses, including “brewpubs, breweries, bars, pubs, wineries and distilleries that serve food.” Similar establishments that do not serve food may not be open at this time although outside vendors like food trucks can serve food at these locations provided “both businesses follow state guidance and alcohol is only sold in the same transaction as a meal.”

The county guidelines asks businesses “to encourage takeout and delivery service whenever possible.”

Effective July 1, all businesses serving food must close dine-in services by 10 p.m. and limit each customer group to one and a half hours of dining time. Only household groups are allowed to sit together while dining. Live music is not permitted at any business. 

View all public health orders online at: https://www.venturacountyrecovers.org/public-health-orders/ 

No dining with non-household members

County officials reiterated existing social distancing orders requiring members of the public to only “gather with members of their household remain socially distanced and wear masks in public spaces,” said Rigoberto Vargas, director of VCPH. “Community spread of infection is of increasing concern across the state and in Ventura County.”

That includes when dining at restaurants. 

“Please use extreme caution as COVID-19 is still prevalent in our county. You are much more likely to run into someone who has no symptoms but is positive if you gather with others,” said Levin. “ It’s important that we collectively work together to stop the spread so that lives can be saved, and businesses can remain open.” 

Orders and other information is online at:  www.venturacountyrecovers.org.

County numbers increasing

Over the weekend, 404 new cases were reported, with 70 people currently in local hospitals being treated for symptoms from COVID-19. But the county emphasized that of those new cases, 175 were tested on or before June 22. 

1,042 people are under quarantine in the county due to exposure to a person who tested positive; 45 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died. 

With 2,740 total positive cases from the 58,845 people tested, the county has a rate of 4.7 percent. 

Residents are still encouraged to stay home when possible, wear face coverings in compliance with the statewide mandate, wash hands regularly and when they must go out to practice social distancing. Gatherings with people not in the same household are still not allowed. 

176 people in farmworker housing test positive

The Ventura County Public Health department has reported an “outbreak” of 95 people testing positive in one farmworker housing complex in Oxnard. All 216 residents in the complex are being tested. 11 test results are pending. 

Those who have tested positive are in their 20s and 30s, experiencing mild symptoms and under quarantine. 

VCPH with  the Ventura County Health Care Agency’s Backpack Medicine Team are providing assistance and guidance for residents of the housing complex. 

 “Our team responded immediately once we learned of this outbreak. We will continue to assist those who have tested positive and those who have been exposed. We urge everyone in Ventura County, ranging from individuals and families to business operators and community leaders to help us stop the increasing trend of community transmission of COVID-19,” said Vargas. 

New reopening as of June 19, June 26

As of June 19, nail salons and businesses offering massage, skin care, cosmetology, electrolysis, body art, tattoos and piercing were allowed to reopen pursuant to rules. Some still require clients to wear a mask, limiting the types of services allowed. Services are limited to 30 minutes when in confined spaces, such as a room without a window. Services in rooms with open windows can continue for longer than 30 minutes. 

Personal services are required to follow the state guidance at https://covid19.ca.gov/pdf/expanded-personal-services.pdf.

As of June 26, movie theaters that follow state guidance were allowed to reopen (https://covid19.ca.gov/pdf/guidance-family-entertainment.pdf). In addition, wedding ceremonies with up to 100 people where social distancing can occur are allowed. Indoor wedding ceremonies may take place when the space is filled only to 25 percent of allowed capacity or 100 people, whichever is less. No receptions, parties or gatherings after are permitted.