In a show of rising frustration over Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Southern California-wide “stay-at-home” order, the counties of Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo are jointly petitioning the state to loosen the rules for some 1.5 million residents.
In a draft statement reviewed by the Business Times, the three counties said they will shortly be seeking approval to separate from the state’s Southern California region and form a separate Central Coast region. The rules for the new region would be based on intensive-care-unit capacity across the tri-county area, and not for all of Southern California, which the state defines as stretching from San Diego to San Luis Obispo County on the coast and inland to the Nevada border and along the eastern Sierras.
“A smaller regional approach is important for our community members and struggling businesses. It’s reasonable to have the Central Coast as one region instead of including our County with half the State’s population in the current Southern California Region,” Ventura County Executive Officer Mike Powers in the draft release.
Powers added that the separation would save lives and businesses and allow the Central Coast region to “move forward safely.”
The current Southern California region has 23.1 million people in 11 counties and some of the highest levels of ICU utilization.
However, utilization in the Central Coast region is much lower, and the statement says the stay-at-home order, as currently written, would extend shutdowns across the region for an extended period.
In the statement, the counties indicated a willingness to share hospital and other health care resources with larger jurisdictions “at this critical time.”
The Ventura County Board of Supervisors has scheduled a hearing for Dec. 8 vote on the matter. The other counties have yet to put the item on their official agendas.
Santa Barbara County has already launched a “Masked and Mighty” education program aimed at protecting citizens and businesses. SLO and Ventura Counties have their own educational programs and Ventura County’s efforts can be found at www.venturacountrecovers.org.