The California Department of Public Health announced that it has ended the Regional Stay at Home Order, lifting the order for all regions statewide immediately, including San Benito County.
Public information officer David Westrick on Jan. 25 issued a press release stating that the county, which has been part of the San Joaquin Valley region since late last year, will return to the most restrictive purple tier, or “widespread,” of the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy colored coded tier system.
Gov. Gavin Newsom mentioned during Monday afternoon’s press conference that the San Joaquin Valley region will have a projected ICU capacity level of 22.3 percent by Feb. 21.
“We are in a position projecting four weeks forward with a significant decline in the case rates, positivity rates,” he said. “We are anticipating still more decline in hospitalizations and more declines in ICUs and that’s why we’re lifting that stay-at-home order effective immediately today.”
Newsom mentioned that Covid-19 testing is starting to go back up, as well as vaccination rates in the state. He said that tiers will be reassessed Jan. 26 and an updated version will be available to the public.
The governor added that Covid-19 hospitalizations statewide are down 19.8 percent and they are seeing a consistent decrease over a two week period starting Jan. 11.
“I want to remind folks that we’re not out of the woods,” he said. “We’re seeing a flattening of the curve, everything that should be up is up, everything that should be down is down: case rates, positivity rates, hospitalizations, ICUs.”
The lift means that services and activities, such as outdoor dining and some indoor personal services, may resume immediately with required modifications. Those allowed to reopen with indoor service include hair salons and barber shops along with all indoor retail and shopping centers but at a 25 percent maximum capacity.
Businesses that can operate outdoors with modifications include places of worship, movie theaters, gyms and fitness centers, wineries, family entertainment centers such as mini golf or batting cages, cardrooms and certain youth sports competitions.
Other sectors in the purple tier include outdoor recreational facilities and outdoor gatherings with a maximum of three households. Businesses must continue to follow industry specific guidance and any sector specific tier restrictions.
“While there are positive signs that the virus is spreading at a slower rate across the state, San Benito County still reports high case rates as well as deaths among its residents which reminds us that the Covid-19 pandemic is far from over,” Westrick said.
Westrick said that County Public Health officials were notified the order was lifted in three regions: San Joaquin Valley, Bay Area and Southern. They reported that the four-week intensive care unit capacity projections for these three regions are above 15 percent, which is the threshold that allows regions to exit the order.
State public health officials reported that the Sacramento Region exited the order on Jan. 12, while the Northern California region never entered the order.
County health officials still advise the community to follow the basic Covid-19 guidelines such as wearing face coverings when they’re not at home, maintain physical distance of at least six feet, wash their hands frequently, avoid gatherings and mixing with other households, follow all state and local health department guidance and get the vaccine when it’s their turn.
“Californians heard the urgent message to stay home as much as possible and accepted that challenge to slow the surge and save lives,” said Dr. Tomás Aragón, CDPH director and state public health officer. “Together, we changed our activities knowing our short-term sacrifices would lead to longer-term gains. Covid-19 is still here and still deadly, so our work is not over, but it’s important to recognize our collective actions saved lives and we are turning a critical corner.”
For information, visit the county map to find the status of activities open in each county.