PICTURED: Screenshot from the state of California’s “Blueprint for a Safer Economy,” https://covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy/.  

by Nancy D. Lackey Shaffer

As of Thursday, April 7, at 12:01 a.m., Ventura County moved into the state of California’s less restrictive orange tier. Under the current guidelines, bars that don’t serve food may now open for outdoor business, while wineries, breweries and distilleries can bring customers inside. In addition, many businesses that were permitted to open indoors under the red tier have had indoor capacity allowances increased.

“On behalf of the Board of Supervisors we share in the good news and appreciate that we as a community have been able to bring the numbers down in our County and State,” Ventura County Supervisor and Board Chair Linda Parks (Dist. 2) stated in a press release. “The good work of our citizens, our businesses and the protocols put forth have helped us control COVID. What a good feeling for grandparents to hug their grandkids, for kids to be able to go back to school and for the struggling businesses.”

 County officials report that Ventura County’s seven-day average case rate per 100,000 is 3.9 and the health equity seven-day testing positivity rate is 2.8% (both of which place the county in the orange tier). The seven-day testing positivity rate is 1.6%, which qualifies for the yellow tier. 

As of April 6, 2021, Ventura County Public Health reported 10 new COVID-19 cases, 2,059 additional tests completed and one additional death (an 89-year-old woman). There are currently 23 people hospitalized with COVID-19 and five in the ICU. The current R-effective (average number of people each infected person will pass the virus onto) is 0.75, which means that the spread of COVID-19 is likely decreasing; R-effective for the state as a whole is 0.78. 

 “This progress, thanks to the hard work of our community members, means that our restaurants, retailers, gyms and other businesses can open to more customers which will help keep doors open, grow jobs in industries that were hit hard during the height of the pandemic and get us moving forward on the recovery path,” said County Executive Officer Michael Powers. “This is the time to keep it local in supporting our businesses.”

 In addition, businesses in need have until next week to apply for the county’s Second Business Assistance Grants. The application period for the $5,000 grants has been extended to April 13 at 6 pm. More information can be found at www.vcbusinessgrants.com.

ORANGE TIER REOPENING GUIDELINES

Amusement parks: Smaller parks can open outdoors with 25% maximum occupancy or 500 people, whichever is fewer. Reservations or advanced ticket sales are required, and only local attendees (from the same county as the park’s location) are allowed. 

Bars (where no meal is served): Open outdoors with modifications.

Cardrooms and satellite wagering: Open indoors with 25% maximum occupancy.

Family entertainment centers: Open indoors at 25% maximum occupancy.

Fitness centers and gyms: Open indoors with 25% maximum occupancy; indoor pools open at 25% occupancy.

Hotels and lodging: Fitness centers at hotels, motels and inns can now open indoors at 25% maximum occupancy; indoor pools open at 25% occupancy.

Movie theaters: Open indoors with 50% maximum occupancy or 200 people, whichever is fewer.

Museums, zoos, and aquariums: Open indoors with 50% maximum occupancy.

Offices: Open indoors with modifications — though telework is still encouraged.

Outdoor live events: Open at 33% capacity.

Places of worship: Open indoors with 50% maximum occupancy.

Retail (including standalone grocers): Open indoors at full capacity with modifications.

Restaurants: Open indoors with 50% maximum occupancy or 200 people, whichever is fewer; only members of same household may share a table.

Shopping centers (including swap meets and indoor malls): Open indoors at full capacity with modifications; common areas must remain closed and food courts are at reduced capacity.

Wineries, breweries and distilleries: Open indoors with 25% maximum occupancy or 100 people, whichever is fewer; only members of same household may share a table.

Youth sports: Competitions between two teams are allowed in certain sports according to the State’s Youth Sports Guidance

“Continued adherence to public health mitigation measures such as wearing a mask that covers your nose and mouth, washing hands frequently with soap and water, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces, and practicing physical distancing from those outside your household will help limit the impact of variants circulating in Southern California, particularly as more indoor activities open and expand operations,” said Public Health Officer Doctor Robert Levin. “I am happy for our local businesses, but we can’t let our guard down.”


COVID-19 testing continues to be offered; find testing information at www.venturacountyrecovers.org. 

For further information by industry sector, visit the State’s Industry Guidance website.