April 23: Latest Ventura County Public Health Order and city of Ojai rules during pandemic, to date

4 24 LEVIN4Screenshot of Ventura County Public Health Officer Dr. Robert Levin at a county government update on COVID-19. The updates are given Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 1 p.m. and may be viewed live at and also for later viewing.


Ventura County Public Health Officer Dr. Robert Levin extended the countywide Stay Well at Home Order to May 15 and loosened some restrictions in the new order that went into effect April 18 at 11:59 p.m.

Levin said he will review the order in a week to assess for further modifications.
The 19-page modified order can be viewed at . The new order:
— Allows exceptions for limited business operations, including a provision for nonpublic-serving businesses to operate with no more than 10 employees.
— Modifies some essential businesses in alignment with the governor’s list of essential businesses that can be viewed at .
— Allows for gatherings in motor vehicles, with certain restrictions.
— Reopens golf courses and other forms of recreation with restrictions, such as no driving in golf carts, golf-hole flags and no sharing of clubs or golf balls,
— Allows bike shops to open.
— Permits in-person sale of vehicles.


Ojai rules:

The city of Ojai has additional measures that are not in the county order. According to Ojai City Manager James, Vega:
— The city of Ojai’s sports courts (tennis and pickleball) remain closed through May 1.
— The Farmers’ Market will continue to operate with enhanced restrictions, such as limits on numbers of customers, face masks required, reduced vendors, etc.
— The city’s playground and skate park remain closed.
— Picnic areas and barbecues at Sarzotti Park remain closed.
— Traffic and parking will be regulated on North Signal Street to discourage crowds at the trails this weekend — April 25-26.


County parks, beaches open
On April 17, county government reopened county parks for day use, including Soule, Steckel and Foster. There is no parking and the restrooms remain closed. County beaches, including Silverstrand, Hollywood Beach and Kiddie Beach Park at Channel Islands Harbor, are open, but the restrooms and parking are closed. The city of Ventura voted Monday to allow people to actively move on the beaches and to surf. The bathrooms, parking lots and playgrounds at city of Ventura beaches are closed.
The California state beaches and parks are allowing active recreation on beaches, trails and in the water as well, but parking lots at state parks properties will stay closed.
The new Ventura County Public Health Order was changed April 20 to remove a reference to allowing five people to gather, according to county officials who spoke about the change at Tuesday’s Ventura County Board of Supervisors meeting.
Levin said the order “will be a living document and we will fix it up as we go along.”

Protecting seniors
The new order includes protections for those in hospitals and long-term care facilities. Any resident of a long-term-care facility who is suspected of having COVID-19 is to be immediately isolated, have priority testing with results reported to the county Communicable Diseases department, and the resident must be transported to a hospital to be cared for.
The resident must be cleared by the Communicable Disease department before being released from the hospital and that resident’s bed must be reserved for his or her return, Levin said.
Levin added that, of the more than 400 long-term-care facilities in Ventura County, a total of 11 long-term care facility residents in nine of the facilities have tested positive for COVID-19 as of April 21. Sixteen staff members of those facilities have also tested positive and have all been sent home, he said.
Also, those who are 70 or older with pre-existing conditions and those 75 or older must remain in their place of residence and follow social-distancing requirements to the greatest extent feasible.
Staying home, as much as possible, and practicing social distancing when conducting essential business continues to be required for all. Getting exercise outside of the home is permitted, but gyms are to remain closed.
"We will scrutinize the data to see the impact these changes have on our rates of COVID-19, Levin said, adding, “I don't expect to see any new trends for about three or four weeks. If we find that we are losing ground, we'll have to make adjustments.”


Business signs
Levin said that businesses allowed to be open must post a sign that will review social-distancing requirements at the business and will agree to allow “surprise visits” by county code enforcement officials. He said that if a business is not meeting requirements, he will “not be reluctant” to close it.


Steps to reopen
Gov. Gavin Newsom has laid out six goals for reopening, and the Ventura County government has been working to meet those goals, according to a county press release. Among the county’s positive steps are: increased testing, providing isolation in hospitals, expanding contact tracing, taking extra measures to protect the vulnerable, adding ventilators and hospital beds, and registering plasma donors.



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