Given the imminent threat presented by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Santa Barbara County’s Director of Emergency Services has proclaimed a Local Health Emergency.

The emergency proclamation signed today mandates the cancellation or postponement of non-essential gatherings of 250 people or more. Additionally, attendees of small gatherings shall maintain six foot distancing, particularly for those at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19. These mandates are effective immediately through March 30. School, work and shopping are examples of essential events that fall outside of the mandate.

There have been 198 cases and four deaths from the virus identified in California, and yesterday the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. Though Santa Barbara County has no known cases of the virus, the County’s public health officer is authorized to take preventative measures that may be necessary to protect and preserve public health.

For additional information, members of the public are encouraged to visit the SB County Public Health Department’s coronavirus public information portal at https://publichealthsbc.org/