A video version of this update is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9HbThayhUA
There is a lot of information and misinformation going around about COVID-19, otherwise known as the coronavirus. Coronavirus is serious, but no reason to panic. We wanted to take this opportunity to provide some important information to residents.
At this time, the best thing for residents to do is to practice social distancing in order to “flatten the curve” and not pass on the virus to others. What does this mean?
“Social Distancing” is a practice encouraged to stop or slow down the spread of a highly contagious disease by restricting when and where people gather to stop or slow the spread of infectious diseases. Social distancing measures include limiting large groups of people coming together, closing buildings, and canceling events. It is recommended that you stay 6 feet away from others in public.
“Flattening the Curve” is a public health strategy using social distancing in order to slow the spread of the virus, so there isn’t a huge spike in the number of people getting sick all at once and so public health services aren’t overwhelmed by patients requiring critical aid.
We’re asking residents to be safe while continuing to support local businesses. The City will be working with restaurants to encourage take out and curbside pickup as much as possible, and suspending some of the City codes that would typically not allow signage and other items. If you need to go shopping, practice social distancing and keep distance between you and others.
If you own a restaurant in Ojai, and are interested in coordinating a curbside pickup space, please contact the City’s Public Works or Planning Departments for more information (805-646-5581).
For businesses, the Ojai Chamber of Commerce has prepared laminated signs that can be placed at each business providing additional information. They can be contacted at the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
The City of Ojai and its partners are taking several actions to protect public health during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) crisis.
Note that there is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19, and the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. The CDC recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, such as Novel Coronavirus:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick and practice social distancing.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
City Hall remains open, however, we encourage you to use the telephone and internet as much as possible for inquiries at ojaicity.org. The site has a contact us button that will allow you to email inquiries as well.
The following facilities and events have been closed or suspended:
Special Events at Libbey Park and Libbey Bowl
The Ojai Tennis Tournament
Ojai’s Earth Day Event
City of Ojai Recreation Center
Ojai Unified School District:
All OUSD Schools
We recognize it is human nature to gather together during a crisis. However, this is a very different crisis, requiring social distancing.
Health clubs, bars, restaurants, places of worship, and other gathering places are being asked to implement “social distancing” practices in order to slow the rate of virus transmission by “flattening the curve”. If you own a business and need assistance with easing of parking or signage restrictions in order to create drop-off or pick-up zones, please contact the Ojai Planning Department at (805) 646-5581.
To help our vulnerable populations, public restrooms in our parks will be kept open 24 hours a day. They will be cleaned frequently and monitored by City Staff and Ventura County Sheriff’s Deputies. Hand washing stations have been ordered and will be placed at various locations throughout the City to allow everyone to wash their hands frequently.
Please also keep in mind that price gouging is prohibited. California law generally prohibits charging a price that exceeds, by more than 10 percent, the price of an item before a state or local declaration of emergency. This law applies to those who sell food, emergency supplies, medical supplies, building materials, and gasoline. The law also applies to repair or reconstruction services, emergency cleanup services, transportation, freight and storage services, hotel accommodations, and rental housing. Exceptions to this prohibition exist if, for example, the price of labor, goods, or materials has increased for the business.
Violators of the price gouging statute are subject to criminal prosecution that can result in a one-year imprisonment in county jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000. Violators are also subject to civil enforcement actions including civil penalties of up to $2,500 per violation, injunctive relief, and mandatory restitution.
If you witness or are the victim of price gouging, please call the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office at 805-654-2500.
INFORMATION FROM COMMUNITY PARTNERS:
We’ve had a lot of questions about whether donations are needed. We have been in contact with some charities who have noted a need for non-perishable food donations and household goods like laundry soap, bath soap, shampoo for delivery to home-bound seniors. Donations are accepted at the Little House, 111 West Santa Ana Street, Ojai.
Southern California Edison, and So Cal Gas announced that they are suspending service disconnections for nonpayment and waiving late fees, effective immediately, for residential and business customers impacted by the COVID-19 emergency. For more information, visit: sce.com/billhelp or socalgas.com.
Ojai Unified School District will provide meals to children beginning Tuesday, March 17. Student Care Teams will be on every school campus from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. You can stop by and pick up a brown bag lunch and breakfast for the following day, or check out sanitized computers or library books. All meals are free for all children, even if they do not attend OUSD.
The State of California has announced financial support services for workers whose employment is impacted due to the coronavirus for additional information, please visit the Employment Development Department for the State of California at: edd.ca.gov.
We have also reached out to local markets, and at this time, there are no delays or supply chain interruptions.
In order to avoid misinformation, please refer to official sites for accurate information:
City of Ojai www.ojaicity.org
Ventura County www.vcemergency.com
California Department of Public Health cdph.ca.gov/covid19
United States Centers for Disease Control www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html
Lastly, to receive the latest notices from the City of Ojai, please sign up for our email list. We will place a sign up list for COVID 19 updates on our homepage today.