Gracie Kitayama and Sophie Kroesche | Mustang News

A stay-at-home order will take effect in San Luis Obispo County tomorrow, Dec. 6, at 11:59 p.m., County Public Health announced in a press release today. 

The State of California is requiring a stay-at-home order in the Southern California region, as well as San Luis Obispo County and the San Joaquin Valley region. The order will be re-assessed by the State after three weeks, according to the California Department of Public Health.

Nonessential services such as hair salons, bars, wineries and playgrounds will be closed for both indoor and outdoor operations, according to the stay-at-home order.

“This is going back to more of a status very similar to what was in March when the pandemic first began,” County Public Information Officer Michelle Shoresman said. “Many things are just required to close altogether.” 

Retailers can remain open with 20% capacity and restaurants will only be open for take-out, pick-up or delivery, the press release said. Schools that have already opened for in-person learning, childcare, medical and dental care and outdoor recreational facilities can remain open. 

Shoresman said hotels can be open for people needing to travel for essential business or healthcare workers needing to isolate, but leisure travel is highly discouraged. 

The order comes after the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) capacity in Southern California fell to 13% on Dec. 4, which is below the State’s 15% threshold, according to County Public Health. 

Southern California’s ICU capacity continued to drop to 12.5% today, but San Luis Obispo County’s capacity remains higher than other Southern California counties. 

“We are disappointed to be categorized in the Southern California region and continue to ask state officials to reconsider our regional assignment to better represent the local ICU capacity,” County Health Officer Penny Borenstein said in the press release. “However, COVID-19 is spreading fast in SLO County, and in the past 14 days, 11 people with COVID-19 have died in our community.”

The county does not have information on why exactly the local ICU capacity and hospitalization rate has been able to remain lower than other counties. However, Shoresman said it could be attributed to the fact that many local cases have been younger, healthier people able to recover relatively easily without hospitalization. 

Still, with COVID-19 cases increasing in the purple-tier county, Shoresman said the stay-at-home order will still be beneficial. 

“The stay-at-home order will definitely help the state,” Shoresman said. “We know that we need to as a general rule keep people away from each other that are not in their regular household or immediate household.” 

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

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