Restaurant dining halted, take-out and delivery to continue

As part of the public health effort to slow the spread of coronavirus disease, and heeding new guidance issued by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), Santa Barbara County bars, nightclubs, pubs, breweries and wineries were asked to immediately close to the public, effective March 17.

Restaurants and other food facilities offering onsite dining were told to immediately transition to only offering delivery or take-out service. Santa Barbara County’s Public Health Department (PHD) urged businesses to comply with this request immediately and to cancel any planned St. Patrick’s Day celebrations or events.

The new advisory, aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19 in communities, targets bars, nightclubs, restaurants and other food facilities, because they “are locations where people from many parts of the community gather, increasing the chances of transmitting the virus that causes coronavirus disease,” according to PHD.

While many bars, nightclubs and pubs traditionally hold events for St. Patrick’s Day, PHD stated that these celebrations are particularly dangerous at this point in the coronavirus pandemic, as they could result in widespread transmission of the disease in Santa Barbara County.

Grocery stores, markets and activities such Foodbank distribution sites are not being asked to close at this time, as they provide critical services to the community. PHD has provided social distancing guidance for these operations, such as ensuring at least six feet of space between groups of unrelated people while shopping or standing in line.


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