Ventura County announced it will ease some of the stay at home restrictions and begin the first steps of reopening the county. The modifications include allowing small gatherings, opening parks up and slowly reopening non-essential businesses.
Ventura County announced these modifications on Saturday, the same day neighboring LA County had its deadliest day from the coronavirus pandemic.
The modified order allows for gatherings of up to five people, changes to qualifications of what is an essential businesses and reopens golf courses and some parks. Businesses that don't serve the public can slowly reopen and operate with less than ten employees. Gatherings in cars and in-person sales of vehicles are also permitted under the modifications.
The order was extended and scheduled to last until May 15.
Leaders in Ventura County said it’s not a time to put the guard down but to move forward cautiously.
"We are positioned to focus on the road to reopening because our residents and businesses have sacrificed so much to comply with the Public Health Orders and slow the spread of the virus in our community,” said Mike Powers, Ventura County CEO. "Our current situation is further strengthened by the work of our local hospitals to expand their capacity."
As of Saturday night, Ventura County reported about 400 cases of coronavirus with 13 deaths. Powers said that though steps are being taken to reopen the county the fight against coronavirus is not over.
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“We are not out of the woods. We must continue to practice social distancing to protect our community," Powers said. "We will continue to expand our testing capacity and focus on protecting populations most at risk including seniors, homeless, and the brave farmworkers who work every day to put food on our table."
The order still advises that people 70 and older with pre-existing conditions to stay at home. Gov. Newsom’s statewide Stay at Home order still remains in effect.
Powers also told NBC4 the county will be closely monitoring the rate of infections and if numbers start to go back up the county will have tighten restrictions.
On Sunday, the city of Ventura clarified that although the county reopened parks on Saturday, the city of Ventura still had not opened them yet.
For more information on the modifications click here.