More Ojai businesses open doors

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Ojai Valley News photo by Holly Roberts
Home Kitchen of Ojai opened for dine-in customers Thursday. From left, employees Amanda Dickenson, Selina Carillo, Jorge Zambrano, Javier Herrera, Hector Orozco and Cristina Orozco were ready to welcome customers back to the restaurant.


Marianne Ratcliff, Ojai Valley News editor
Ventura County got approval from the state on May 20 to move forward on an accelerated Stage 2 path to reopening more businesses — one day after the county Public Health officer declared the county had met the state’s benchmarks to do so.
The Public Health Officer modified the Stay Well VC Order the same day, so dining in at restaurants and in-store shopping at businesses with exterior-facing entrances are permitted, effective May 21. To read the new order and for more information on COVID-19 in Ventura County, visit
As of May 21, more than 2,700 Ventura County businesses had registered to reopen in Ventura County. One of the first restaurants in the county to reopen for in-restaurant dining May 21 was Home Kitchen of Ojai, which had its registration completed early in anticipation of the new order. Other businesses open May 21 under the new rules include: Kindred Spirit, Ojai Ice Cream, Ben Franklin and Serendipity.


“So happy for our county, businesses and employees,” said County CEO Mike Powers. “A long way to go, but this is a major milestone. The attestation reflects a validation of our collective community and county efforts to protect our community’s health and to support our local businesses. COVID-19 has had devastating impacts on both community health and our economy. We want businesses to be able to reopen and we believe they can and will do so safely.”
Restrictions started to be eased May 8, when curbside retail, and manufacturing and supply-chain businesses were allowed to open. 
“We see an economic expansion — a welcome and needed economic expansion in our county, on the one hand, and an opening up of our social interactions, which we are cognizant puts us at risk of increased transmission of COVID-19,” Ventura County Public Health Officer Dr. Robert Levin told the county supervisors May 19. “This is a delicate balancing act. I think our county is up to the task.”
With the easing of restrictions, “there are more opportunities for gathering," Levin said. "We have to be more responsible than we have been even before. It does not mean quarantine is over just because you’ve been allowed to go to a restaurant or a business. We have to be very responsible for ourselves and we have to be politely responsible to those around us so this continues to be a team effort in protecting all of our health.”
He added that Ventura County “will likely have modified K-12 school opening in the fall. We are waiting for state guidelines for this. The devil is in the details. I would like to see this happen.”


“This is a real milestone for Ventura County and our local businesses,” said Ventura County Supervisor Steve Bennett. “Businesses and their employees now need and will appreciate our support. If you are in a financial position to do so, I encourage you to step up now to shop local and support our local businesses.”
To qualify for the accelerated reopening, Levin had to attest that hospitalization and test positivity rates are stable or declining; that the county has a significant level of preparedness with testing, contact tracing, personal protective equipment; and hospital surge; and that it has adequate plans related to countywide containment.
Criteria also include:
1. the rate of positive COVID-19 patients hospitalized cannot be greater than 5% in the last seven days. The county of Ventura was at -3.4% in the past seven days, as of May 20.
2. Positive test results for the last 14 days can be no greater than 8% and the Ventura County number is 3.5%
Restaurants and retail must register at and follow the guidance. Learn more about the California Resilience roadmap for state reopening at

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