As the world continues to face the outbreak of the novel COVID-19 in Santa Barbara, we know many people are worried about the future and how this pandemic will affect the coming months. Authorities in California have been taking this situation very seriously, and they have enacted several safety measures to flatten the curve and protect the health of as many people as possible.

The Facts About COVID-19

Novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is a type of virus that causes symptoms of varying severity, ranging from those typical of a common cold to more serious respiratory problems. COVID-19 is considered a novel virus because it is a new strain that has not been identified in humans before. While the illness started in China, people with the virus have been confirmed in many countries, including the United States. Since this is a very new virus, health authorities are carefully watching the situation and learning more about how it spreads. This situation is developing quickly and the U.S. Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) provides the most up to date information as it becomes available.

On March 19th, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the California State Public Health Officer and Director of the California Department of Public Health is ordering all individuals living in the State of California to stay home or at their place of residence. This order is in place until further notice. The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department is communicating with local health care providers on how to safely and effectively evaluate people exhibiting potential COVID-19 symptoms.

It is extremely urgent that each and every one of us do our part to flatten the curve and reduce the spread of this infection. Our collective efforts to social distance and take infection control precautions during this time will save lives. As an exception, individuals needed in critical operations are still able to leave their homes for work.

Essential services that will remain open and need a full workforce at this time include:

• Gas stations
• Pharmacies
• Grocery stores, farmers markets, food banks, convenience stores, take-out and delivery restaurants
• Banks
• Laundromats/laundry services
• Essential state and local government functions, including law enforcement and offices that provide government programs and services

Specific business that are closed include:

• Dine-in restaurants
• Bars and nightclubs
• Entertainment venues
• Gyms and fitness studios
• Public events and gatherings
• Convention centers
• Hair and nail salons

While dine-in restaurants are closed, many are re-adjusting their service options and are offering takeout, delivery, and drive-thru pickup, and we are encouraged to support these local businesses in this way if we can. Since COVID-19 is generally thought to be spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets, there is currently no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food. For general food safety, however, it is still important to always wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before eating.

Leaving your home to care for elderly parents or friends or family members with disabilities who need assistance is also acceptable. However, if you must, be sure you take needed precautions to protect them and yourself. Follow social distancing guidelines, wash your hands as often as you can, and avoid the situation if you have any signs of sickness, even just a small cold. If you are looking to visit loved ones in a hospital, nursing home, or long-term care facility, non-necessary visits are highly discouraged or even prohibited.

What about outdoor activities? Most are perfectly acceptable, as long as you are maintaining a social distance of at least six feet from anyone who is not a member of your household. Taking a walk around the block with the kids for some fresh air is a great form of exercise. Walking, running, hiking and biking in your local neighborhood is ok too, just try to avoid crowded trails and parking lots. State Parks are modifying access at home locations to reduce visitor density. You can also take your dog for a walk or take pets to the vet if they are ill. Just always keep that six feet of distance in mind!

If you need to leave the house to obtain groceries or medications, take extra precaution to reduce your risk of exposure to COVID-19, such as:

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces (such as shopping carts)
• Stay six feet (three paces) away from other people
• Avoid touching your face
• When you get home, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
• If soap and water aren’t available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer
• Avoid people who are sick
• Stay home if you have a fever or cough, have trouble breathing, and feel tired

We’ll Make It Through Together

Here at Paradise Retreats, our team understands the difficulty of the times we are finding ourselves in, and we are here to help if you have a booking or are hoping to plan a trip in the future. It has always been our goal to provide guests with an exceptional vacation experience. At this time, we have implemented extra procedures that ensure all our properties are clean, sterile and safe for all our guests. We are determined to see our communities through this crisis, and we look forward to extending our hospitality to you again in the future. Click here to book our amazing vacation rentals!