Breaking away: 3 counties look part from SoCal stay-at-home order

State-mandated Covid restrictions are too much for leaders of Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo

Ventura County Executive Officer Mike Powers (iStock, Ventura)
Ventura County Executive Officer Mike Powers (iStock, Ventura)

Southern California’s residents and businesses remain under stay-at-home orders but three Central Coast counties want state approval to break away.

Leaders from the three counties — Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo — said they will ask the state to consider them a separate region in order to avoid those Covid restrictions, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The current stay-at-home order is mandated at the regional level and takes effect when intensive care unit bed availability falls below 15 percent. ICU capacity in Southern California — which the state considers to stretch as far north as Mono County — is 10.9 percent as of Tuesday.

“A smaller regional approach is important for our community members and struggling businesses,” Ventura County CEO Mike Powers said in a statement.

The California order restricts many in-person retail businesses to 20 percent of indoor capacity — 35 percent for grocery stores — and requires businesses, including hair and nail salons, to shutter completely.

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Some of those measures were already adopted at the county level in L.A. County, by far the most populous in the state, but were not in effect for less populated parts of what the state designates as Southern California.

Currently, San Joaquin Valley is also under the order. The other three regions — the Bay Area, Greater Sacramento and Northern California — are not subject to the order.

Leaders at city and county levels have fought restrictions on business activity throughout the pandemic.

Pasadena city officials decided to continue outdoor dining last month after L.A. County barred it for three weeks. On Monday, the city also closed outdoor dining because of the state order. [LAT] — Dennis Lynch