Growing strain on the health care system has triggered a stricter stay-at-home order for Santa Cruz County and the rest of the Bay Area region.
Intensive care unit (ICU) availability in the Bay Area region, which includes Santa Cruz County, reached 12.9%, according to the latest state data, triggering the stricter stay-at-home order recently issued by California Gov. Gavin Newsom. The order will require further closures of local businesses and services by 11:59pm Thursday, Dec. 17. It will remain in effect for at least three weeks.
The order comes with more stringent restrictions for businesses amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Outdoor dining and some other services will be forbidden, and retail businesses will be reduced to 20% capacity.
The state implemented the restrictions, Newsom said, because the number of available ICU beds has been falling across the state as more Californians test positive for Covid-19.
There are 54 people in Santa Cruz County hospitals with Covid-19, with 10 people in the ICU, according to state data. That leaves two ICU beds available in the county.
Sixty-four Santa Cruz County residents have died from Covid-19 directly or with the disease as a contributing cause, according to the county.
WHAT DOES THE ORDER MEAN?
The following sectors will have modifications in addition to masking and physical distancing:
- Outdoor recreational facilities: Allow outdoor operation only for the purpose of facilitating physically distanced personal health and wellness through outdoor exercise, without any food, drink or alcohol sales. Additionally, overnight stays at campgrounds will not be permitted.
- Retail: Allow indoor operation at 20% capacity, and 35% of capacity for standalone grocery stores, with entrance metering and no eating or drinking in the stores. Additionally, special hours should be instituted for seniors and others with chronic conditions or compromised immune systems.
- Shopping centers: Allow indoor access at 20% capacity with entrance metering and no eating or drinking in the stores. Additionally, special hours should be instituted for seniors and others with chronic conditions or compromised immune systems.
- Hotels and lodging: Allow for Covid-19 mitigation and containment measures, treatment measures, provide accommodation for essential workers, or providing housing solutions, including measures to protect homeless populations.
- Restaurants: Allow only for take out or delivery.
- Offices: Allow remote only except for critical infrastructure sectors where remote working is not possible.
- Places of worship and political expression: Allow outdoor activities only.
- Entertainment production: Industries, studios, and other related establishments such as establishments that provide content for professional broadcast can operate without live audiences.
The regional order will force the following sectors to close (except to the extent that their operations fall within critical infrastructure):
- Hair salons and barbershops
- Personal care services
- Museums, zoos, and aquariums
- Movie theaters (except drive-in)
- Wineries, bars, breweries, and distilleries
- Family entertainment centers
- Cardrooms and satellite wagering
- Limited services
Learn more about the regional stay-at-home order on the state’s website here: covid19.ca.gov/stay-home-except-for-essential-needs/#regional-stay-home-order.