Free COVID-19 Testing Will be Available In The Ojai Valley on Thursday, July 30th and Tuesday, August 4th

The Ventura County Health Care Agency is offering free COVID-19 testing to the public. Testing is to be held at Nordhoff High School, 1401 Maricopa Hwy. Ojai CA. on Thursday, July 30, 2020 and Tuesday, August 4, 2020.

Appointments will not be required. For additional information, please see the flyer below.

County Officials Announce that Bars, Breweries, Wineries and Similar Establishments can Reopen for Outdoor Services

(7/12/2020)- Today, Ventura County officials announced that all bars, pubs, brewpubs, breweries and other businesses licensed to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on their premises must close indoor operations, but may open outdoor operations if they offer sit-down, outdoor dine-in meals. Alcohol can only be sold in the same transaction as a meal. Wineries and wine tasting rooms may open outdoor operations even if they do not offer sit-down, outdoor dine-in meals. For additional information, please see the press release below.

City of Ojai COVID-19 UPDATE FOR JULY 16, 2020


A video version of this update is available at: https://youtu.be/W00MCGiTcwg

The City of Ojai thanks the residents for doing their part to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Unfortunately, with the recent surge in cases across the state, the State of California announced some additional closures this week:

Statewide restrictions:

Effective July 13, 2020, ALL Counties must close indoor operations of:

Dine in restaurants
Wineries and tasting rooms
Movie Theaters
Family Entertainment Centers (Bowling, mini-golf, batting cages, arcades
Zoos and museums
Cardrooms
Additionally, bars, brewpubs, breweries, and pubs must close unless they are offering sit-down, outdoor dine-in meals.

Ventura County is one of several counties on the state Monitoring list, and is subject to additional restrictions regarding indoor services of the following:

Fitness Centers
Worship Services
Protests
Offices for non-essential sectors
Personal Care Services (nail salons, body waxing and tattoo parlors)
Hair Salons and barbershops
Malls
With the surge, we wanted to also let residents know about some services and contact information. You can find most of this information on vcemergency.com, or by visiting the City of Ojai page and clicking the red link for the Ojai COVID-19 information page.

The County of Ventura has expanded free COVID-19 testing throughout the county for residents who have the slightest suspicion of having COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone with it. You don’t need to have health insurance, but may be asked for it if you do. Below you may find a list of testing locations.

To help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, we encourage residents to access services online, by phone, or e-mail, when possible. A drop box has been installed outside of City Hall near the main entrance. This box can be used to drop off any documentation you may need to bring to City Hall.

To make an appointment, residents should call the City department that they wish to visit. A full list of city departments may be found below. An employee from that department will meet you at the door and accompany you to the department that you are scheduled to visit.

Ojai Police Station:The Ojai Police Station remains open, please call (805) 646-1414 (Non-Emergency) or 911 for an emergency.
Community Development Department (CDD):For planning/building permits or other CDD services, please email Shari Herbruck at herbruck@ojaicity.org or call (805) 646-5581 ext. 112.
Code Compliance:Code Enforcement is onsite and prepared to respond to needs. Residents may mail codecompliance@ojaicity.org or call 646-5581 ext. 117 to report any concerns.
Finance Department:For business licenses and other finance services please email Kristy Rivera at rivera@ojaicity.org or call (805) 646-5581 ext. 100.
Public Meetings: For information about public meetings, please email Gail Davis at gdavis@ojaicity.orgor call (805) 646-5581 ext. 120
Public Works and Engineering Permits:To make arrangements for these services please email Andrea Mackey at amackey@ojaicity.org or call (805) 646-5581 ext. 209.
Recreation Department:To make arrangements for these service please email Renee Peace at peace@ojaicity.org or call (805) 646-5581 ext. 390.
All other Inquires: For all other inquiries, please email Luis Gomez at gomez@ojaicity.orgor call (805) 646-5581 ext. 103
Furthermore, the City of Ojai launched a new text messaging system that allows residents to sign up for alerts from the City, or to text issues to the City. Residents can sign up for occasional updates by texting the keyword “OJAICA1” to 91896 from their cell phone. After the initial keyword is sent, residents will be asked to confirm that they are “opting in.” The City has been providing COVID-19 updates via this text system in recent weeks.

Residents can also snap a picture of an issue and text the City to report it. For Code Enforcement concerns, text the word CODE and respond to a few questions to report an issue. The system will then provide that information to the City’s Code Enforcement Officer for follow up. Residents can also report Public Works concerns, such as potholes, by texting the word REPORT and responding to a few questions.

Because of the hard work of our residents, our City has fared well as we fight this virus. Together we can continue to keep our City safe and reduce the risk and spread of COVID-19.

Lastly, the City has enacted several executive orders throughout the local emergency that are still in effect. You can find the orders on our COVID-19 information page, including the following:

The City’s residential and commercial eviction moratoriums remain in place through the existence of the coronavirus emergency.

The City’s face covering requirement has been replaced by the State of California’s face covering requirement.

The City’s order to allow restaurants to establish and/or expand outdoor seating areas to promote

social distancing continues. Interested restaurants can contact the City at (805)646-5581 ext. 112 for more information and approval.

The City’s order to allow fitness instructors to reserve park space to allow physical distancing at classes for a reduced fee of $20 per class continues. Fitness instructors can call the Recreation Department at (805)646-5581 ext. 306 for more information and approval.

Thank you for your time, and stay healthy.

State Issues Guidance on Closure of Sectors in Response to COVID-19

(07/01/20) Ventura, CA – As COVID-19 transmission rates continue to rise, Governor Newsom issued guidance today that instructs counties that have been on the County Monitoring List for three consecutive days or more to close indoor operations for certain sectors which promote the mixing of populations beyond households and make adherence to physical distancing with face coverings difficult. Within those sectors, those that are not able to continue their business through outdoor operations must close that portion of their business effective immediately for at least three weeks, in order to further mitigate the spread of the virus.

In Ventura County, the following sectors may only operate outdoor operations with appropriate modifications, including physical distancing and face coverings: Dine-in Restaurants, Family Entertainment Centers, Zoos and Museums. In addition, all brewpubs, breweries, bars, pubs, wineries and tasting rooms must close indoor and outdoor operations. Movie theaters and cardrooms are not allowed to operate at this time.

All industry or sector guidance documents that have been issued to date, including all infectious control measures outlined in those guidance documents, apply in outdoor settings, and must be adhered to.

Bars Must Close.  All Bars shall be closed to the public until those establishments are allowed to resume operation per state guidance and local permission.  A bar is considered any business that is licensed to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on its premises, including but not limited to bars, pubs, brewpubs, breweries, wineries, and distilleries, if the business is not a permitted restaurant by the Ventura County Environmental Health Division.

Restaurants May Allow Outdoor Dining Only.  Dine-in “Restaurants” shall not allow indoor dining service until those establishments are allowed to resume indoor dining operations per state guidance and local permission.  For purposed of this Order, “Restaurant” means any business that is permitted as a restaurant by the Ventura County Environmental Health Division, even if it also possesses a license to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on its premises. Restaurants should continue to encourage takeout and delivery service whenever possible, however, outdoor dining is still permitted following the state guidance:https://files.covid19.ca.gov/pdf/guidance-restaurants-bars.pdf. Restaurants that cannot accommodate outdoor dining can continue to provide takeout and delivery services.

Indoor Zoos and Museums Must Close. All indoor facilities operated by zoos and museums must be closed to the public until allowed to resume per state guidance and local permission.  Outdoor facilities for zoos and museums may remain open following the state guidance:https://files.covid19.ca.gov/pdf/guidance-zoos-museums.pdf.

Businesses that are not in compliance are subject to closure. The State, County and Cities have coordinated enforcement efforts in place and will involve such agencies as State Alcoholic and Beverage Control, County Environmental Health, County Sheriff’s Office and local City partners.

Ventura County Beaches closed 4th of July weekend Gatherings prohibited to prevent the spread of COVID-19


Ventura, CA – Ventura County beaches will be closed this holiday weekend from 5:00 a.m. on July 3 through July 6 at 5 a.m. to prevent crowding that results in the spread of COVID-19. To support this effort parking lots and restrooms will also be closed.
“COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to increase in Ventura County and throughout the State. It’s important that people do not gather to prevent further spread,” said Public Health Officer Doctor Robert Levin.
The Fourth of July weekend is often a time of gathering. Usually, community members enjoy the summer holiday with backyard barbecues, fireworks and water activities. But this year, celebrating the holiday will be different due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Gatherings are prohibited in the State. Fireworks shows have been canceled throughout Ventura County to prevent gatherings.
“Visiting family and friends still presents a risk of spreading COVID-19. We know people are eager to go out, but we need to remind you on the importance of being safe and protecting yourself and others. Please only gather with the people that you live with. Your actions can help save lives,” said Public Health Director Rigo Vargas.
Please take the following precautions:
• Continue to social distance by staying 6 feet away from others, especially if you are at high risk for serious illness from COVID-19 (over age 65 or any age with underlying medical conditions).
• Continue to wear cloth face coverings in public.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.
• Stay home if you are sick.
Stay informed at www.venturacountyrecovers.org.

Free COVID-19 Antibody Testing Will be Available In The Ojai Valley on Thursday July 2

The Ventura County Health Care Agency is offering free COVID-19 antibody testing to the public. The test is a blood test.

The Antibody test tells individuals if they have been previously exposed to COVID-19 and have developed antibodies to the disease. No appointment is necessary.

Time is 10 am to 6 pm at Thu, July 2 at Ojai (Meiner’s Oaks) Redemption Church 190 E. El Roblar Dr.

The County of Ventura Launches Rental and Business Assistance Programs Aimed at Providing Relief from the Impacts of COVID-19

The County of Ventura launches Rental and Business Assistance Programs aimed at providing relief from the impacts of COVID-19. Residents can apply for rental assistance from June 17 to July 1, 2020 at www.ventura.org/rent and business owners can apply at www.vcreopens.com from June 24 to July 8, 2020. For additional information, please see the flyers below. 

El Condado de Ventura Aprobaron el Plan Final de Distribuir $20.1 Millones en Asistencia Financiera para Empresas e Inquilinos.

Ventura, CA – Hoy la Junta de Supervisores del Condado de Ventura aprobaron el plan final de distribuir $20.1 millones en asistencia financiera para empresas e inquilinos. Los Programas de Subsidios de Alquiler y Asistencia Empresarial tienen como fin aliviar los impactos del COVID-19. Los residentes y dueños de negocios ahora pueden revisar los criterios y preparar la solicitud que tiene el 17 de junio de 2020 como fecha de entrega.Para obtener más información, consulte la información a continuación.

City of Ojai Launches Program to Allow Low-Cost Park Rental for Outdoor Fitness Classes During Pandemic

On June 16, 2020, the City of Ojai announced the launch of a program that will allow fitness instructors to utilize areas of City parks for safe, physically distanced fitness classes. The State and County’s guidelines limit indoor fitness classes due to potential spread of the virus. Outdoor programs are allowed as long as a 6 foot distance is maintained by participants.

To help encourage responsible exercise, the City of Ojai has created a low-fee process that will allow instructors to reserve portions of the park for their classes for $20 per class. The cost will cover staff time associated with scheduling and coordinating. Instructors must follow Ventura County Social Distancing Protocols. No contact sports are allowed at this time under State and County guidelines. Non-contact classes may be held including yoga, tai chi, Zumba, and many others. Instructors will be required to have (or obtain) insurance.

Instructors interested in reserving space for a class can contact the City’s Recreation Department, at (805) 646-5581, ext. 390 for more information.

Director of Emergency Services Executive Order No. 20-07

City of Ojai COVID-19 Update for June 12, 2020

A video version of this update is available at https://youtu.be/22mMB76YqJM

This is the City’s COVID-19 update for June 12, 2020.

On Thursday, June 11, 2020, the Ventura County Public Health Department issued a modified health order permitting the reopening of additional businesses that were previously closed. This Order will be effective June 11, 2020 11:59 pm and will continue to be in effect until extended, rescinded, superseded or amended in writing by the Public Health Officer.

Sectors that may reopen on Friday, June 12 with modifications, social distancing protocols, and completion of the attestation process include, but are not limited to:

  • Gyms and Fitness Facilities
  • Day Camps
  • Family Entertainment Centers
  • Hotels and Lodging for tourism or Individual Travel
  • Campgrounds, RV Parks and Outdoor Recreation
  • Restaurants, Wineries, and Bars
  • Zoos, Aquariums, and Museums
  • Public Pools
  • Skate Parks

Modifications required in addition to those found in the state guidance are as follows:

Gyms and Fitness Facilities

  • Outdoor activities can follow the guidance as written
  • Indoor activities must keep a 12-foot distancing requirement

Day Camps

  • Groups sizes are limited to a 10-1 or 10-2 ratio for each group (10 campers with one or two instructors).
  • Each group must be stable. The same campers and instructor stay together and do not mix with other groups.
  • Any camp activity must maintain 6-foot social distancing. Individual skills and drills can be done, but no group or contact sports such as a football or basketball games may be played

Family Entertainment Centers

  • Examples that may be opened include bowling, miniature golf, batting cages, and private skate parks
  • Movie theaters, arcades, playgrounds, rock climbing walls, and trampoline venues are not allowed to open at this time

Hotels and Lodging for Tourism or Individual Travel

  • Hotel rooms must be left vacant for 24 hours after a guest has departed

Campgrounds, RV Parks and Outdoor Recreation

  • RV parks and campgrounds at the beach are allowed 2/3 capacity
  • RV parks and campgrounds not at the beach are allowed 50% capacity

Restaurants, Wineries, and Bars

  • Bars and wineries that serve food can be open with the existing requirement that alcohol must be sold on the same ticket as a meal
  • Restaurants should continue to follow the previous guidance

Zoos, Aquariums, and Museums

  • Follow state guidance

Public and HOA Pools

  • 50% capacity
  • Use a reservation system
  • Follow County of Ventura Environmental Health guidance for pools

Music, Film, and TV Production

  • No live audiences
  • *Do not register at VCReopens.com. Attestation is included through permit issuance
  • Must have a COVID-19 Compliance Officer on site
  • Follow industry guidance

These sectors may be open only while adhering to social distancing protocols provided by the Governor and the Ventura County Health Officer and after completing the County’s attestation process (*except for those noted). Businesses must also follow the guidelines on the Frequently Asked Questions document at:   Business owners can find resources, information, and the process to complete the attestation at www.vcreopens.com.

Although businesses are beginning to reopen, please remember to practice good hygiene and distancing to avoid the spread of the coronavirus. To help with this, the City of Ojai’s face covering requirement, which requires face covers at businesses with customer interaction, remains in effect. The City has also continued to place hand sanitizer and hand wash stations throughout the City, and the modifications to trail access and the Farmer’s Market continue. Under this new order, the City will also be reopening the skate park, and preparing some summer Recreation programs that will allow for social distancing. The City has now issued 9 permits for expanded outdoor dining space to help local restaurants ensure adequate physical distancing. If you are a business owner and would like more information, please contact the City at (805) 646-5581, ext. 1

Expanded Covid-19 Testing Now Available.

6/10/2020 The County of Ventura has expanded free COVID-19 testing throughout the county for residents who have the slightest suspicion of having COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone with it. Residents don’t need to have health insurance, but may be asked for it if you do. For additional information, please see the flyer below. 

El Condado de Ventura ha aumentado las pruebas en todo el condado para los residentes que tienen la menor sospecha de que tengan sintomas del COVID-19 o que hayan sido expuestos a alguien que lo tenga. No se les cobrará por la prueba y no necesita tener seguro médico. Si tiene seguro médico, es posible que se le pedirá la información. Para obtener información adicional, consulte el volante a continuación.

Ventura County Pandemic Rental Assistance (VCPRA) Program Now Available

06/10/2020

The Ventura County Pandemic Rental Assistance (VCPRA) program may provide temporary rental assistance for Ventura County residents with  low incomes who owe past-due rent because of a hardship due to COVID-19. Online applications will be accepted June 17 – July 1, 2020. Learn more at ventura.org/rent.

El Programa de Ayuda por la Pandemia para Inquilinos del Condado de Ventura (VCPRA) puede proporcionar ayuda temporal para inquilinos residentes del Condado de Ventura con ingresos muy bajos quienes deben renta atrasada por dificultades debido al COVID-19. Se aceptarán solicitudes en línea del 17 de junio al 1 de julio, 2020. Más Información en ventura.org/renta.

City of Ojai COVID-19 Update for June 2, 2020

The State of California has developed a 4 stage resilience roadmap (https://covid19.ca.gov/roadmap/ ), with the ultimate goal of gradually ending the stay at home order.   We are now in Stage 2 where retail, related logistics and manufacturing, office workplaces, limited personal services, outdoor museums, child care, and essential businesses can open with modifications.  Ventura County has received approval from the State to move forward on an accelerated Stage 2 path to reopening, which includes places of worship, barbershops and hair salons (but not nail salons), with certain restrictions.  The Governor has indicated Stage 3 may begin soon. Ventura County restaurants can now offer dine-in options and all retail businesses with exterior facing entrances are permitted to have customers inside of their stores (https://vcportal.ventura.org/CEO/VCNC/2020-05-20_VCNC_CountyAcceleratedReopening.pdf ).  Before reopening, restaurants and retail stores must register at www.vcreopens.com and follow the guidance.  HOA and apartment pools may now open also.

Still not permitted to open by State and/or County orders are theaters, indoor museums, gallery spaces, community centers, public pools, playgrounds, picnic areas, cultural ceremonies, bars, nightclubs, concert venues, live audience sports, festivals, hotels/lodging for leisure and tourism, nonessential travel and higher education.

The City, working with the Chamber of Commerce, has developed an easy to use checklist for restaurants to ensure they are in compliance with social distancing requirements.  This checklist can be found at https://drive.google.com/file/d/1tUHPD46EleUkJ7b-1KxK4-IoM6nMgVYv/view  . Restaurants can provide additional outdoor seating after submitting a site and seating plan, along with a no-fee zoning clearance.  This form can be found at https://drive.google.com/file/d/1a5x8aerswzc_pzls8_WkxOJEF4_82U56/view  .

Employees and customers at any business or facility with interactions between employees and customers within the City of Ojai must wear a face covering to protect employees, customers, and residents. Employees who are alone in a room may remove the face covering, and customers at restaurants may remove face coverings while eating.

Important Information For Reopening Businesses 

As businesses begin to reopen in coming days, the City of Ojai would like to provide the following information to ensure appropriate health and safety measures are being considered:

  1. The City of Ojai has issued Executive Order 20-05, which allows restaurants to expand their outdoor seating to promote social distancing. If you are a business and are interested in expanding your outdoor seating, please contact the City’s Community Development Department, at 805-646-5581, extension 112.
  2. The City of Ojai has issued Executive Order 20-06, which clarifies the City’s face covering requirements. The order requires employees and customers at any business or facility with interactions between employees and customers within the City of Ojai to wear a face covering, to protect employees, customers, and residents. The order notes that employees who are alone in a room may remove the face covering, and that customers at restaurants may remove face coverings while eating.
  3. The City, working with the Chamber of Commerce, has developed an easy to use checklist for restaurants to ensure they are in compliance with Coronavirus related requirements. The checklist includes the 10 key protocols for restaurants within the City of Ojai, and is included below:

10 KEY PROTOCOLS FOR RESTAURANTS

Executive Order No 20-06

Executive Order No 20-05

The Stay Well VC Health Order has been modified

This new order went in to effect at midnight May 29 and is set to expire on June 14.  This new order can be found at https://drive.google.com/file/d/1oL0lh83rct5qRE9cj0cddHeX7U6hjH7y/view?usp=sharing

  • This order includes the reopening of placed of worship following the state guidance.
  • This order does not open up other whole industry sectors at this time. However, it allows us to stay in alignment with the state unless our local Public Health Officer chooses to be more restrictive for certain things.  
  • This order does remove several restrictions to allowed activities.
  • Golf carts are allowed (limit 1 person per cart), putting greens and flag pins are also allowed (with protocols).
  • Sportfishing is allowed with the guidance approved by Dr. Levin.

County of Ventura Board of Supervisors Approves $20 Million Economic Stabilization and Recovery Programs

Programs Aim to Provide Relief to Ventura County Businesses and Families

The County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously for County staff to finalize a $20 million Economic Stabilization and Recovery Program aimed at providing relief to Ventura County businesses and families by utilizing funding from the Federal Coronavirus Relief Fund. The programs aim to provide funding to those struggling from the impacts of COVID-19.

“The pandemic has created both a health and economic crisis. These proposed programs will help mitigate these devastating impacts to our local businesses and residents,” said Mike Powers, County Executive Officer. “We know that this is not enough to meet all the needs but it is our hope that these funds will help with recovery so that our businesses can survive, and families can stay in their homes.”

The County’s unemployment rate jumped from 4.6% in March to 14% in April due to the coronavirus-related job losses based on the unemployment data from the state Employment Development Department. Historically, the unemployment rate for the County has remained below 4.5% for the past two years. With businesses impacted during the public health emergency, over 80,000 Ventura County residents filed for unemployment since March.

The County Executive Office proposed the two programs, at a special Board of Supervisors meeting on May 28, for relief to Ventura County business and families in the amount of $10 million to each program in two phases.

The first program is an Economic Stabilization and Recovery Program for businesses. The program was developed in consultation with the Economic Development Collaborative, Women’s Economic Ventures and the Ventura County Community Foundation. The program will provide business assistance grants to local businesses.

As the private sector makes the necessary changes to its businesses to adhere to accelerated Stage 2 and Stage 3 of California’s Roadmap to Reopening, expedited funding through the business assistance grant program will be well-timed for the business community.

The main features of the proposed program are to include grants of $5,000 each for small businesses to alleviate impacts from COVID-19 for allowed uses such as payroll support, rent and lease payments, costs for personal protective equipment, purchases related to the operation of their businesses, and extraordinary business expenses for adhering to compliance protocols for reopening (e.g., cleaning services, signage, customer interface capabilities, additional security, etc.). Eligibility is limited to businesses with no more than $2 million in annual revenue in either of the two prior years.

The second program is a Housing Assistance Program for residents for families or individuals with past-due rent in order to avoid eviction. Data received from the Economic Development Collaborative and the Workforce Development Board identify those industry sectors hit the hardest by the pandemic. Those industries include retail, food preparation and service, hospitality, personal care aides and amusement and recreation attendants. These industries pay the lowest wages in Ventura County and across the country, and their workforce typically includes a large portion of individuals and families at or below the federal poverty level, those most likely to need rental assistance to remain stable housed despite receiving unemployment or stimulus assistance. This workforce represents approximately 95, 253 impacted jobs, accounting for 26.2% of all county jobs.

The proposed rental assistance program is intended to serve as bridge funding for residential rent while other funding opportunities are being considered at the state and federal level. The program will help to stabilize housing for the lowest-income residents and those at greatest risk due to loss of employment, loss of work hours or the inability to work due to child care needs, family/elder care needs, or substantial medical costs due to COVID-19. While the funding may not fully cover monthly rent, it will assist in reducing amounts owed. The program will provide micro-grants to low-income individuals and families. The grant amount will be based on rental unit size, $1,500 for a studio/1 bedroom and $2,500 for a 2 bedroom or larger, with a maximum of two months of rent owed.

“Our goal is to get the programs up and running as soon as possible to help provide financial assistance to businesses and residents. We want to do whatever we can to support those who are struggling during this time. These programs will provide much needed relief where it is needed most,” said Powers.

The County of Ventura has received $147 million from the Treasury Department in Coronavirus Relief funding. These funds will be utilized to address numerous challenges the County is facing during this pandemic. They include increased costs related to testing, feeding seniors, housing the homeless, meeting the demand for additional public health and hospital staffing, establishing temporary facilities, personal protective equipment, developing surge capacity and possible revenue loss coverage, if allowed, in order to maintain the administrative capacity to implement critical programs such as CalFresh, CalWorks and Medi-Cal, especially during a time when our community is in great need.

County staff will develop a funding distribution plan and enter into agreements with community organizations to facilitate the distribution of funds. A strategic multi-language outreach plan will be implemented to target those most in need of assistance once the program goes live.

City of Ojai COVID-19 Update for May 21, 2020

Last night, the County of Ventura received approval from the California Department of Public Health to move forward on an accelerated Stage 2 path to reopening. Ventura County is the first County in Southern California to receive this approval, and is also the largest County to receive approval. This means that dine-in restaurants and in-store retail can open as soon as they register at vcreopens.com. Guidance, checklists, and prevention plans are available at vcreopens.com as well. The County has announced that they will be releasing an updated Stay Well VC Public Health Order today, but dine-in and in-store shopping will be permitted beginning today, May 21.

In Ojai, the City’s economic recovery task force, working with the Ojai Valley Chamber of Commerce, has developed a simplified checklist of requirements to ensure these businesses are sanitizing appropriately, requiring face coverings, and taking other necessary measures. The City’s task force is investigating additional measures to help restaurants and businesses promote social distancing and allow residents to support businesses safely. For example, today the City enacted an executive order which allows restaurants to expand their outdoor seating to promote social distancing. If you are a business and are interested in expanding your outdoor seating, please contact the City’s Community Development Department, at 805-646-5581, extension 112.

Although these are positive steps, please remember to continue to exercise caution. Although we have flattened the curve, coronavirus has not gone away. There were 21 new cases reported yesterday, bringing the total up to 858 total cases in Ventura County. 28 people are currently hospitalized, with 13 currently in the ICU. There has sadly been 29 deaths. The County has announced expanded testing, which will allow you to be tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or close contact with a person diagnosed. Drive through testing centers are now available at Ventura College, Moorpark College and in Santa Paula. For more information, please visit the Ventura County Health Care Agency website, at vchca.org.

The Public Health Order allows tennis courts, pickleball courts, and parks to be open, with social distancing protocols in place. Here in Ojai, we have opened these facilities with these protocols in place. However, shared amenities, such as playgrounds and the skate park are still closed under the order to prevent the spread of disease. Restrooms at parks remain open. The City has increased the level of sanitization and trash pick up to help prevent the spread of disease. If you are visiting a park, consider bringing your own water and hand sanitizer if possible. The City will continue to limit traffic on North Signal Street to reduce crowding on Shelf Trail, and some additional procedures remain in place at the Farmer’s Market.

Last, please remember that here in Ojai, we are still requiring face coverings at essential businesses. If you are going shopping, please remember to wear a face covering. We appreciate your help!

Director of Emergency Services Executive Order No. 20-05

County of Ventura Approved by State for Accelerated Path to Reopening

Ventura, CA – The County of Ventura is the first and largest Southern California County to receive approval from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to move forward on an accelerated Stage 2 path to reopening. With this approval, Ventura County restaurants can now offer dine-in options and all retail businesses with exterior facing entrances are permitted to have customers inside of their stores.

“So happy for our County, businesses and employees. A long way to go, but this is a major milestone. The attestation reflects a validation of our collective community and County efforts to protect our community’s health and to support our local businesses,” said Mike Powers, County CEO. “COVID-19 has had devasting impacts on both community health and our economy. We want businesses to be able to reopen and we believe they can and will do so safely.”

Given increased statewide and local capacity to respond to COVID-19, including stronger preparedness, continued stability in the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations, as well as increased ability to provide personal protective equipment to workers in essential sectors, the State announced the new attestation opportunity for counties to move through Stage 2, opening additional sectors of their economy at their own pace. The modified State guidance was issued by the Governor on Monday, May 18.

Regular Stage 2 has included curbside retail, manufacturing and supply chain businesses. The Governor has allowed counties that apply and qualify for a variance to move further along into Stage 2 with seated dining. The County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to ratify the attestation on Tuesday, May 19 at the regularly scheduled Board meeting. It was submitted to the State on that same day. The State provided approval in less than 24 hours.

“We want our community to reopen safely. Community members and businesses must continue to practice social distancing to lower the risk of COVID-19 exposure. This will help keep our numbers low so we can continue to move forward in reopening businesses throughout our County,” said Public Health Officer Doctor Robert Levin.

To qualify for the variance, counties must attest that hospitalization and test positivity rates are stable or declining; that they have a significant level of preparedness with testing, contact tracing, PPE and hospital surge; and that they have adequate plans related to county-wide containment.

Criteria also includes 1) the rate of positive Covid-19 patients hospitalized cannot be greater than 5% in the last 7 days. The County of Ventura is at -3.4% in the past 7 days. 2) Positive test results for the last 14 days can be no greater than 8% and our local number is 3.5%.

“This is another big step on our path to reopening. We appreciate this opportunity for our local businesses, and we hope that our community members can continue to follow the public health guidance so we can continue to reopen,” said Mike Powers.

Restaurants and retail must register at www.vcreopens.com and follow the guidance. Learn more about the California Resilience roadmap for state reopening at https://covid19.ca.gov/roadmap/.

The Public Health Officer will modify the Stay Well VC Order this evening. Dine in and in store shopping will be permitted effective Thursday, May 21, 2020.

COVID-19 Industry Guidance:

Shopping Malls, Destination Shopping Centers, Strip and Outlet Malls all with exterior facing entrances are permitted to open. https://covid19.ca.gov/pdf/guidance-shopping-centers.pdf

Dine-In Restaurants: https://covid19.ca.gov/pdf/guidance-dine-in-restaurants.pdf

Give your input: California Recovery Roadmap Survey

California is building a roadmap for modifying the statewide stay home order while maintaining community health and resiliency. We need Californians to give input on the best way to reopen different sectors of our economy.

Good ideas come from everywhere. The state has received many innovative proposals from California businesses and labor representatives on how they’re adapting their workplaces to reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission.

Now we’d like to hear from you– business owners, workers, customers – to get your feedback on physical and environmental adaptations that can make workplaces safer and protect our communities.

Help shape a more resilient future for California.  Fill out the California Recovery Roadmap Survey.

Fill out the survey

COVID-19 Testing

A new drive through testing site will be opening on Saturday, June 6 at Oxnard College. The hours of operation will be Friday through Tuesday 10 am to 7 pm. Oxnard College is located at 4000 S. Rose Ave in Oxnard.

Drive through testing is currently offered at three sites. No appointment or insurance required. The hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 10 am to 7 pm. Please view the attached flyer for information about all testing sites.

The locations include:

  • Ventura College, 4667 Telegraph Road in Ventura
  • Moorpark College at 7075 Campus Road in Moorpark
  • 128 S. Hallock Drive in Santa Paula

City of Ojai Preparing for Implementation of Ventura County’s Stay Well Order

The County Public Health Officer announced that on May 8, 2020, the County will move forward with Stage 2 of the framework for reopening: Reopening Lower-Risk Businesses. This will allow retail businesses, such as clothing stores, bookstores, sporting goods stores and florists, for example, to reopen with curb side delivery, as well as the related manufacturing and supply chain businesses.

Public Health Officer Dr. Robert Levin said in a press release, “Our community members have answered the call to stay well at home and thanks to them, we are in a position to move forward. These actions have saved lives. It is critical that our community continues to use caution. The virus is not gone. It is dangerous and poses a significant health risk. As we move into the next stage, we must do so with great care. We must continue to practice social distancing and businesses must make modifications needed to lower the risk of COVID-19 exposure.”

The County’s order requires businesses to perform a detailed risk assessment and self-certification before reopening, via the County’s website www.vcreopen.com.

Ojai Requirements

The City of Ojai has enacted Executive Order No. 3, which requires that businesses in Ojai also complete and make available upon request by City of Ojai staff the City’s “Protocols for Retail Businesses in Ojai.” The form requires businesses to certify that they will take appropriate measures to sanitize and ensure the health and safety of its employees and customers. The form also informs business owners that the City’s face covering at essential businesses requirement remains in place.

Additionally, beginning today, the City of Ojai will make available signage for businesses informing visitors that face coverings are required at these businesses. The City of Ojai is also offering to work with businesses to develop “Pick Up Zone Only” parking, to assist in allowing easy pick up by customers. Businesses interested in either of these can contact the City at (805)646-5581 ext. 209 or ext. 100.

City of Ojai COVID-19 Update for May 15, 2020

A video version of this update is available at: https://youtu.be/UfL5t1Vp58w

Good afternoon,

This is the City of Ojai’s COVID-19 update for May 15, 2020. As of today, in Ventura County, there have been 764 total cases of coronavirus, with 16 new cases reported yesterday. 579 new tests were reported yesterday, bringing the total to 15,550. The County noted that approximately 2% of Ventura County has now been tested and that the number of tests is expected to increase next week, with some additional test sites opening up. More information on testing can be found at the Ventura County Health Care agency website (vchca.org/health-information/covid19).

This week, the County of Ventura moved into early Stage 2 of California’s roadmap to reopening where some of the lower-risk type workplaces can begin to open with procedures and protocols in place. The updated “Stay Well” order will allow retail businesses, such as clothing stores, bookstores, florists and others to reopen with curb side delivery, as well as supply chain related businesses. Businesses must fill out an attestation form at vcreopen.org, and can contact the City for an easy to use checklist to ensure that appropriate protocols are being followed. As businesses begin opening up, we remind everyone to follow social distancing protocols while supporting local business. To social distance, avoid gathering in groups, stay 6 feet from others, and remember to wash your hands thoroughly.

On May 13, 2020, the County expanded the order to allow for office-based businesses to return (although telework is still strongly encouraged). The order also allowed select services such as car washes, pet grooming, landscape gardening, and outdoor museums to reopen with appropriate protocols.

The County noted that the following are still closed under the order:

  • Personal services, such as hair and nail salons, gyms, and fitness studios
  • Hospitality services, such as bars, wineries, tasting rooms and lounges
  • Entertainment venues, such as movie theaters, gaming facilities, pro sports, indoor museums, zoos and libraries
  • Community centers, public pools, playgrounds, and picnic areas
  • Religious services and cultural ceremonies
  • Nightclubs
  • Concert venues
  • Festivals
  • Theme Parks
  • Hotels for leisure and/or tourism

The County’s updated order also allows tennis courts, pickleball courts, and parks to be open, with social distancing protocols in place. Here in Ojai, we have opened these facilities with these protocols in place. However, shared amenities, such as playgrounds and the skate park are still closed under the order to prevent the spread of disease. Restrooms at parks remain open and are frequently being sanitized. If you are visiting a park, consider bringing your own water and hand sanitizer if possible. The City will continue to limit traffic on North Signal Street to reduce crowding on Shelf Trail, and some additional procedures remain in place at the Farmer’s Market. We also announced today that chairs will not be allowed on Ojai Avenue for Fourth of July festivities at this time. We will be reviewing that event further at the upcoming City Council meeting (May 26, 2020).

Last, please remember that here in Ojai, we are still requiring face coverings at essential businesses. If you are going shopping, please remember to wear a face covering. We appreciate your help!

More Business Permitted to Reopen in County of Ventura

Office-based businesses, Car Washes, Pet Groomers, Outdoor Museums and Other Businesses Included in Next Steps

VENTURA, Calif. – The County of Ventura announces that more businesses are permitted to reopen on the State’s Roadmap to reopening. Governor Newsom announced modifications to the State-wide stay-at-home order today. The State has added more businesses to Early Stage 2. The Governor announced that Counties, under the guidance of the Public Health Officer, can move forward in reopening office-based businesses, car washes, pet groomers, outdoor museums and other public spaces.


“Our community has worked so hard to social distance and to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our County. As we move further into Stage 2, we must do so with caution. We must continue to practice social distancing and businesses must make modifications needed to lower the risk of COVID-19 exposure. This will help keep our numbers low so we can continue to move forward,” said Public Health Officer Doctor Robert Levin.


“This is another big step on our path to reopening. We can only do this through the guidance of our Public Health Officer. We are positioned to move forward because our businesses and residents have sacrificed so much to comply with the local order,” said Mike Powers, County Executive Officer. “We trust our business community. We know they are working so hard to meet the guidelines. We want them to be able to reopen safely and we know they will do a great job.”


Stage 2: California is now open with modifications.
Early Stage 2, Part 1 in effect May 8, 2020
• Curb-side Retail – May 8, 2020
• Manufacturers – May 8, 2020
• Logistics – May 8, 2020


Early Stage 2, expanded in effect May 13, 2020
• Childcare for those outside of the essential workforce
• Office-based businesses (telework remains strongly encouraged)
• Select services such as car washes, pet grooming and landscape gardening
• Outdoor museums, and open gallery spaces and other public spaces with modifications

Important steps for business to reopen:

Before reopening, all facilities must confirm the following at www.vcreopens.com
1. Begin by reviewing the guidance published by the State of California at
https://covid19.ca.gov/roadmap/.
2. Upon reviewing the guidance, complete a detailed risk assessment of your business in accordance with
the state guidelines.
3. Complete a written worksite-specific COVID-19 Prevention Plan and post it at your business.
4. Implement the prevention measures identified in your worksite-specific COVID-19 Prevention Plan.
5. Designate an on-duty employee responsible for monitoring compliance with your plan.
6. Complete the attestation form at www.vcemergency.com/business-attestation.

Businesses can reopen after they meet each of the steps. They do not need a formal inspection before they open as long as they have followed the guidelines. A site visit may be conducted at a future date.


Businesses that are already open under the previous order must also complete the steps to reopening:
• If you are a business that is already permitted to be open and in operation you are asked to review these requirements and confirm that you have met these requirements by registering your business.
• Each business is free to write their own worksite-specific COVID-19 Prevention Plan that complies with the state guidance. The state provided companion checklist for each industry guidance document can be used to create your Prevention Plan. Below are sample templates that will satisfy the Prevention Plan requirement.

The Governor announced today that counties can work towards an accelerated path to reopening. While the criteria are high and intended primarily for small rural counties, we are working diligently toward achieving approval. Dine-in restaurants and shopping centers may be opened in counties that have received state approval for the accelerated path. The County has made progress in meeting the Governor’s requirements for moving forward. These steps have included: hospital surge and personal protective equipment capacity; protection of high-risk patient populations: seniors, long term care facility residents, homeless and most recently expanded efforts in contact tracing capacity and testing. The efforts to protect our community health and our local economy are aligned. Investing in these public health steps will benefit the health of our community as well as our local economy.

The following sectors, businesses, establishments, or activities are not permitted to operate in the State of California at this time:
• Personal services such as hair and nail salons, tattoo parlors, gyms and fitness studios
• Hospitality services, such as bars, wineries, tasting rooms and lounges
• Entertainment venues, such as movie theaters, gaming facilities, pro sports indoor museums, kids’
museums and gallery spaces, zoos, and libraries
• Community centers, public pools, playgrounds, and picnic areas
• Religious services and cultural ceremonies
• Nightclubs
• Concert venues
• Live audience sports
• Festivals
• Theme parks
• Hotels/lodging for leisure and tourism

Previous COVID-19 information

The Information on this page is out of date and is available for reference only. Go to our COVID-19 information Page for the most up to date information.

This order is in effect until 11:59 pm on May 31, 2020.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Residents of the County of Ventura are required to stay inside their homes unless they are engaged in certain “essential activities.” On those occasions when you are out of your home for necessary tasks, stay at least six feet away from others.

YOU CAN … 

  • Go to the grocery store
  • Go to the pharmacy to pick up medications and other healthcare necessities
  • Go to medical appointments (check with your doctor or provider first)
  • Go to a retail store to pick up orders by curbside delivery
  • Go to a restaurant for take-out, delivery or drive-thru
  • Care or support a friend or family member 
  • Walk your pets and take them to the veterinarian if necessary
  • Help someone to get necessary supplies

YOU SHOULD NOT … 

  • Go to work unless you are providing essential services as defined by this Order
  • Engage in door-to-door solicitation
  • Visit friends and family if there is no urgent need
  • Maintain less than 6 feet of distance from others when you go out, as possible
  • Travel to or from a job outside the County, employed by a business permitted to operate during the Stay Well VC Order
  • Travel to or from a vacation home outside the County
  • Visit loved ones in the hospital, nursing home, skilled nursing facility, or other residential care facility

May 7, 2020 Ventura County Stay Well at Home Order Modification

VENTURA, Calif. – The County of Ventura has reached an important milestone for our community, County and our local economy. The Public Health Officer announced today a new modified Stay Well VC Health Order to align with the State of California’s four-stage framework for reopening. The County will move forward with the State’s Stage 2 of reopening lower-risk businesses on May 8, 2020.  This will allow retail businesses, such as clothing stores, bookstores, sporting goods stores and florists, for example, to reopen with curb side delivery, as well as the related manufacturing and supply chain businesses.

“We are at a turning point because of the community’s incredible compliance with social distancing and the sacrifices of individuals and businesses. These efforts have saved lives, helped prevent the spread of the virus in our community and put us in a position to move forward gradually and safely in reopening our economy. Our ability to move forward is directly tied to our continuing commitment to physical distancing.  With the issuance of Dr. Levin’s new Stay Well VC Order, we will align even more closely with the Governor’s revised order because we support the approach of evaluating businesses for reopening based on level of risk and we believe it will provide greater clarity.  The new local order will retain some aspects of our previous order in areas such as guidelines for seniors and long-term care facilities,” said Mike Powers, County of Ventura CEO.

“Our community members have answered the call to stay well at home and thanks to them, we are in a position to move forward. These actions have saved lives. It is critical that our community continues to use caution. The virus is not gone. It is dangerous and poses a significant health risk. As we move into the next stage, we must do so with great care. We must continue to practice social distancing and businesses must make modifications needed to lower the risk of COVID-19 exposure,” said Public Health Officer Doctor Robert Levin.

The County has made progress in meeting the Governor’s requirements for moving forward. These steps have included: hospital surge and personal protective equipment capacity; protection of high-risk patient populations: seniors, long term care facility residents, homeless; contact tracing capacity and thoughtful data driven public health guidance.

“The efforts to protect our community health and our local economy are aligned.  Investing in these public health steps will benefit the health of our community as well as our local economy. Until there is a vaccine, these are the only tools we have to identify and prevent the spread of the virus in our community,” said Powers. “We have a plan for verification and education under our Public Health Officer Doctor Robert Levin’s guidance to further ensure our local businesses can reopen and do so safely. We have found almost universally that our local businesses truly want to comply. Businesses and local business leaders with the Economic Development Collaborative, Cities, Chambers, Women’s Economic Ventures and the Ventura County Economic Development Association have come to the table in the spirit of compliance. They get it and want to make sure they protect their employees and customers.”

IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR BUSINESSES PLANNING TO REOPEN 

Before, reopening, all facilities must confirm the following: 

  • My business is in one of the designated industries permitted to reopen by the State of California & the VC Health Officer order
  • I have performed a detailed risk assessment of my business in accordance with state guidelines
  • I have a written worksite-specific COVID-19 prevention plan and have posted it at my business
  • I have implemented control and screening measures for my business
  • I have implemented disinfecting protocols for my business in accordance with state guidelines
  • I have trained employees on how to limit the spread of COVID-19 including how to screen themselves for symptoms
  • I agree to have an on-duty employee responsible for monitoring compliance with my plan
  • I have posted the compliance hotline flyer provided in a prominent location visible to the public and employees
  • I have completed the attestation form on www.vcreopen.com

If you are a business that is already permitted to be open and in operation you are asked to review these requirements and confirm that you have met these requirements by registering your business by May 18, 2020.

It is critical that employees needing to self-isolate because of COVID-19 are encouraged to stay home, with sick leave policies to support that, to prevent further infection in the workplace.

More information about Stage 2: Lower-risk workplaces can be found at https://covid19.ca.gov/roadmap/

May 7, 2020 City of Ojai COVID-19 Update

Today, Governor Newsom eased some social distancing restrictions for businesses such as clothing stores, florists, bookstores and sporting goods shops and other types of bricks-and-mortar stores to open their doors for delivery and curbside pickup only. This order will be effective, Friday, May 8, 2020.  In-store shopping will still not be permitted.  This order does not include other close-contact businesses, such as dine-in restaurants and hair salons.

The City of Ojai and Ventura County will release updated local orders as soon as possible after reviewing the details of the State order.  The State will provide industry specific guidance for social distancing.

The County announced that they are developing a website to allow businesses to self-certify (or register) to indicate they have met the required social distancing measures released along with the revised orders. Businesses specified in the low risk category completing the registration will be able to open. However, it is important to note, Ojai’s local order requiring face coverings, will remain in place at this time.

The City has worked closely with community groups to safely keep open trails within the City limits, the Ojai Farmer’s Market, and tennis/pickleball courts.

Public Bathrooms remain open 24 hours a day to allow vulnerable populations to ensure appropriate hand sanitization.

Sarzotti Park and Libbey Park remain open for exercise, except for Playgrounds, barbecue equipment, and picnic areas. The Skate Park remains closed under the County’s order.

Please maintain physical distancing from others if you are visiting the park or getting outdoor exercise.

Florists are now permitted to operate under the Limited Business Operation Model of the Stay Well At Home Order

Limited Business Operation Key Points:

  1. No more than ten employees or independent contractors shall be at the facility during any 24-hour period
  2. There is no physical interaction between members of the public and employees or independent contractors of the business
  3. Members of the public are not permitted inside the business’s facilities
  4. Social distancing requirements must be followed
  5. Any goods sold by the business shall be delivered to the purchaser’s place of residence or business address
  6. The business must have social distancing protocol and have it posted

City of Ojai COVID-19 Update for April 30, 2020

A video version of this update is available at https://youtu.be/D7zBBQOAu-A

As of April 29, there have been 517 cases of Coronavirus in Ventura County, with 17 deaths. Ojai has had 5 total cases, and Oak View has had 2 cases. We thank our residents for doing their part to help flatten the curve.

Message from Ojai Police Chief Jose Rivera

The Ojai Police Department and Ventura County Sheriff’s Department is here for you when you need us. Due to the COVID-19, we are all experiencing some very challenging times and adjustments to our way of life. I’m sure residents are concerned about their safety during these difficult times. I just want to take a quick moment to let you know your Sheriff Deputies are aware of this too. Your deputies are out day and night patrolling your neighborhoods and responding to your calls for service. If you need us, we will be there.

To our business owners…I know a majority of the businesses in our city have closed in compliance with State and County orders and there are concerns about businesses falling victim to crime. Your deputies are aware of this and will be out conducting high visibility patrols in and around the business areas in an effort to keep them safe. I do suggest for business owners to periodically stop by their businesses to ensure their businesses are secure. If they notice any tampering or break-ins I urge them to call the police to report the incident.

We have heard some concerns from residents about a potential increase in crimes due to recent changes from the State and Federal Government in penalties. We are not seeing a noticeable increase in crime at this time. We appreciate all the proactive steps that our residents are taking to make this community safe. We will continue to be vigilant to serve and protect our Community!

April 17 City of Ojai Coronavirus Update from Mayor John F. Johnston

The City of Ojai’s City Council and Staff continue to focus on the Coronavirus response, and continue to coordinate with other key agencies, including the County of Ventura. As of April 17, 2020, the County reports that there are 396 total cases in the County (12 new), that 198 are recovered cases, that 21 are currently hospitalized with 8 currently in the Intensive Care Unit. The County also reports 13 deaths. More information is available at VCemergency.com.

The County Public Health Officer announced that is preparing an updated Stay Well at Home order that will be released shortly. The order is expected to extend the time period to May 15 but has not yet been released. Updated information will be available on VCemergency.com and Ojaicity.org.

There have now been 5 cases in Ojai. We must continue the good fight, and not get complacent. I appreciate all of the sacrifices that you all have made in an effort to “flatten the curve” and prevent the spread of Coronavirus but there is still work to do.

To that end, I wanted to take this opportunity to update you on recent actions by the City. The City’s order to wear face coverings at all essential businesses remains in place. We believe that this is a critical tool to help keep each other safe. Please do not use medical masks, medical personnel need them. I have seen many people wearing face coverings around town. To those people, I want to say thank you for doing your part! If you have not been wearing a face covering, please begin doing so now.

This weekend, the Farmer’s Market will reopen, with additional safety measures, such as limited capacity, fewer booths, and required face coverings for farmers and customers. The City will also close North Signal Street again this weekend, to prevent large groups of visitors from using the trails.  If you are planning to attend either this weekend, please follow physical distancing protocols, and remember to wash your hands!

The Ojai Library, and all of the Ventura County libraries, are currently closed. However, they have announced a new “digital” library branch at vencolibrary.org, with materials available for checkout. The City is closing the picnic shelters and barbecue areas at Sarzotti Park to avoid large gatherings.

While you are staying safe at home, please take a moment  to respond to the census at 2020census.gov. Your response to the census matters, as census results help determine how billions of dollars in federal funding flow into communities each year.

Additionally, the City remains in contact with the County regarding other critical needs and services. The County continues to roll out their program that will house at-risk homeless individuals across the County. The Ventura County Continuum of Care has more information on these and other services at:

https://www.ventura.org/human-services-agency/services-for-homeless-people/

Attached to this update is a Resource List, with program information for Mental Health Wellness, Health Care, Housing, Food, Business, Unemployment, and Transportation resources. You can also call 2-1-1 and speak with an operator for more information.

Thank you again for taking the Stay Well at Home Order seriously and helping to flatten the curve. Your actions are saving lives. Stay healthy everyone!

Mayor John F. Johnston


City of Ojai Announces Requirement for Face Coverings While Conducting Essential Business

On April 8, 2020, the City of Ojai announced the implementation of executive order 20-02, requiring that, effective April 10, 2020, employees and customers at an essential business wear a face covering over their nose and mouth. Face coverings are not required when driving or when you are outside in a location where you are unlikely to encounter others in close proximity, but we remind all residents to practice good social distancing at all times.

The notice requests that residents not purchase N95 or surgical masks needed by medical professionals, but instead requires face coverings from bandanas, scarves, or cloth masks. The City will provide signage to essential businesses advising customers of the requirement.

This order is intended to protect both residents and employees who are performing essential services.

More information on the importance of wearing a face covering from Ojai Mayor John F. Johnston

City of Ojai face coverings required printable poster

 County of Ventura face mask COVID-19 printable poster

County of Ventura face mask COVID-19 printable poster in Spanish

The executive order also extends building permits, planning entitlements and tract maps an additional 180 days. A copy of the order is available below.

Message from Ojai City Manager James Vega

City employees are also here to help serve. Please feel free to contact City Hall at (805) 646-5581 with any questions.

I wanted to take a moment to update you on some important things happening here in Ojai and the Valley. First, please remember that face coverings are required when at an essential business in Ojai, to protect yourself and the employees at these essential businesses. Remember to exercise caution, even when wearing face coverings, practice physical distancing, and avoid putting your hands to your face before washing your hands thoroughly.

Here’s some information on additional services available:

Information on Food Services:

The Ventura County Area Agency on Aging is offering a full service food and supply pantry at no cost for Ventura County residents who are 60 or older, and people with disabilities. Two weeks food supply will be provided by delivery. Information is available at (805) 477-7300.

FOOD Share is also holding pop-up food pantries in Ojai on Mondays at Noon at St. Thomas Aquinas Church (185 South Thomas Drive), for low-income families living in Ojai. Proof of residence is required.

Ojai Unified School District

Information on City Facilities:

The following facilities will remain closed until further notice:

  • Playgrounds
  • The Skate Park
  • Sarzotti Park barbecue equipment and picnic areas
  • North Signal Street will be closed to through traffic– to reduce crowd level at the Shelf Trail
  • Libbey Bowl Concerts and Events are postponed and/or canceled through the end of May.

The following facilities will be open with some modifications:

  • Tennis Courts – singles play only with time limits if others are waiting to play
  • Pickleball Courts – limited hours (9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.) singles play only, with additional spacing to encourage social distancing
  • Farmer’s Market – Reduced capacity, booths, and face coverings required
  • City Public Bathrooms – Remain open 24 hours a day to allow vulnerable populations to ensure appropriate hand sanitization
  • Sarzotti Park and Libbey Park remain open for exercise, except for the areas noted above. Please maintain physical distancing from others if you are visiting the park or getting outdoor exercise.

Lastly, we’ve all heard the words “social distancing” a lot lately. Its more important than ever to stay connected with friends, neighbors, and loved ones through video chats, phone calls or letters. The Ventura County Area Agency on Aging has announced a Senior Support Line available at (800) 235-9980. Please visit vcemergency.com or ojaicity.org page for more information and resources.

View the weekly COVID-19 response update To the Ventura County Board of Supervisors meeting at:

https://ventura.granicus.com/player/clip/5416?view_id=67

Preparing for the Road to Reopening

The County of Ventura has been taking steps to prepare for reopening. “We are positioned to focus on the road to reopening because our residents and businesses have sacrificed so much to comply with the Public Health Orders and slow the spread of the virus in our community,” said Mike Powers, Ventura County CEO. “Our current situation is further strengthened by the work of our local hospitals to expand their capacity.”

“These steps are critical because we know that, while the virus poses an unprecedented health threat, efforts to stem the virus come at a significant economic and health toll as we have seen with so many business closures and lost jobs,” Powers emphasized. “Along with the business leaders in our community, including local cities, chambers, the Economic Development Collaborative, Women’s Economic Ventures, the Workforce Development Board, Ventura County Community Foundation and Small Business Administration, the County will continue to work to support these impacted individuals and businesses.”

California Governor Gavin Newsom has laid out six goals for reopening and our County has been meeting those goals:

Point One: The ability to monitor and protect our communities through testing, contact tracing, isolating, and supporting those who are positive or exposed

  • The Public Health Lab’s testing capacity has doubled.
  • The Public Health Lab is one of few in the state that are continuing to conduct contact tracing.
  • More resources are being added for expanded contact tracing.
  • Already providing isolation in hospitals, at designated facilities and isolation at home

Point Two: The ability to prevent infection in people who are at risk for more severe COVID-19

  • Providing meal support for isolated seniors.
  • Providing isolation locations for at-risk homeless or quarantined individuals that do not have adequate housing.
  • Relocating COVID-19 exposed or positive individuals out of long-term care facilities.

Point Three: The ability of the hospital and health systems to handle surges

  • Added over 800 beds to meet surge.
  • Implemented contracts and agreements for surge staffing.
  • Added nearly 100 additional ventilators.

Point Four: The ability to develop therapeutics to meet the demand

  • Established plasma donor registration to provide possible access to COVID antibodies.

Point Five: The ability for businesses, schools, and child care facilities to support physical distancing

  • Working closely with partners in education, community-based organizations and the business community to prepare for steps for reopening.
  • Our community continues to take steps to social distance.
  • The doubling rate of spread is slowing to 26 days.

Point Six: The ability to determine when to reinstitute certain measures, such as the stay-at-home orders, if necessary.

  • Daily tracking of test results, hospital utilization and capacity is in place.

“We are not out of the woods. We must continue to practice social distancing to protect our community. We will continue to expand our testing capacity and focus on protecting populations most at risk including seniors, homeless, and the brave farmworkers who work every day to put food on our tables,” added Powers.

Ojai Business Status Survey

The Ojai Valley News, Ojai Chamber and City of Ojai have partnered on the Ojai Business Status Survey. If you are a Ojai business owner, please visit this link to take the survey.

Online Business Survey Link

The Governor of California has laid out a six-point plan for reopening the State

Our County has already begun to meet the points laid out in the plan:

1) The ability to monitor and protect our communities through testing, contact tracing, isolating, and supporting those who are positive or exposed:

Expanding testing capacity – doubled Public Health lab testing capacity already
Adding resources for expanded contact tracing
Already providing isolation in hospitals, at designated facilities & isolation at home

2)The ability to prevent infection in people who are at risk for more severe COVID-19

Providing meal support for isolated seniors
Providing isolation locations for at-risk homeless or quarantined individuals that do not have adequate housing
Relocating COVID exposed or positive individuals out of long term care facilities

3)The ability of the hospital and health systems to handle surges

Added over 800 beds to meet surge
Implemented contracts and agreements for surge staffing
Added nearly 100 additional ventilators

4) The ability to develop therapeutics to meet the demand

Established plasma donor registration to provide possible access to COVID antibodies

5) The ability for businesses, schools, and child care facilities to support physical distancing

Working closely with partners in education, community based organizations and the business community to prepare for steps for reopening.

Our community continues to take steps to social distance. The doubling rate of spread is slowing to 15 days.

6)The ability to determine when to reinstitute certain measures, such as the stay-at-home orders, if necessary.

Daily tracking of test results, hospital utilization and capacity is in place

Watch a video update from CEO Mike Powers: https://vimeo.com/410433636.

A Message from the Ventura County Covid Compliance Team

Many local businesses are now allowed to reopen as Ventura County continues to meet the State criteria for Covid-19 response.

There have been many inquiries regarding what workplace types are able to reopen, and what safety measures need to be in place to protect employees and customers as they do so. We encourage you to visit  www.vcreopens.com to access information on what workplace types are able to register and reopen or expand services at this time.

There you will find helpful and informative links to help guide you through safely reopening your business. When you select “Complete the attestation form by clicking here”, you will be able to select your industry/workplace type. Once selected, you will see the guidance and template that relate to that particular industry.

We are currently in the Expanded Stage 2 phase of reopening. The state has specifically stated the following sectors, businesses, establishments, or activities are not permitted to operate in the State of California at this time. Ventura County is not allowed to open these businesses at this time:

  • Personal services such as nail salons, tattoo parlors, gyms and fitness studios
  • Indoor museums, kids museums, gallery spaces, zoos and libraries
  • Community centers, including public pools, playgrounds, and picnic areas
  • Entertainment venues, such as movie theaters, gaming, gambling, arcade venues, pro sports,
  • Hospitality services, such as bars, wineries, tasting rooms and lounges
  • Nightclubs
  • Concert venues
  • Live audience sports
  • Festivals
  • Theme parks
  • Hotels/lodging for leisure and tourism – non-essential travel
  • Higher Education

We want to share a heartfelt, “thank you”, to each business owner who has been so diligent in response and cooperation during this time helping to slow the spread and flatten the curve!

Should you have any questions regarding a workplace type, business registration or attestation form or checklist, please contact us at CovidCompliance@ventura.org or call (844) VC OPENS (844-826-7367) and we will help guide you through the process.

Please visit www.vcreopens.com to find COVID-19 guidance and to register your business. On this website you will find information about which businesses can open, what steps you should take, and how to contact us if you need further assistance.

Thanks again for your diligence!

Updates at www.vcemergency.com.

County of Ventura Expanded COVID-19 Testing Begins 5/4/20

Testing for COVID-19 has expanded to multiple locations throughout the County. Any Ventura County resident who meets the following criteria may schedule an appointment for testing by calling a State Location at 1-888-634-1123 or the County’s Ambulatory Urgent Care-sponsored testing site hotline at 805-652-7660.

Criteria For Testing

To be eligible for testing you must meet one of the two following criteria:

  1. Symptomatic for COVID-19: any person with cough or shortness of breath OR two of the following symptoms: fever greater than 100.4F, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell.
  1. Asymptomatic close contacts of a lab-confirmed COVID-19 case (see criteria below).

For Asymptomatic individuals please note the following:

  • Asymptomatic close contacts may be tested at 2 time points, both at the beginning and the end of the 14-day quarantine period. If they are positive at the first test, they do not need to be re-tested at 14 days.
  • A “close contact” of a “case” of COVID-19 is defined as living or staying at the same residence, being an intimate sexual partner, staying within 6 feet for more than 10 minutes while the case is not wearing a mask, or having direct contact for any amount of time with the body fluids or secretions of the case (e.g. was coughed or sneezed on, shared utensils with, was provided care by, or provided care for the case, without wearing a mask, gown, and gloves).

Testing

Available for all adults and children who live in Ventura County who have symptoms compatible with COVID-19. A physician referral for testing is not necessary. County residents will not be charged for the test and are not required to have health insurance, although they will be asked for insurance information if available.

Please pre-register for a testing appointment at the following centers:

Optumserve State Locations 

Primary testing site for frontline and essential workers (e.g., grocery workers, food supply workers, utility workers, etc.)

Online: https//lhi.care/covidtesting

Phone: 1-888-634-1123

Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday 8am – 8pm

Location 1 – Oxnard Performance Arts Center 800 Hobson Way Oxnard, CA  93030

Location 2 – Conejo Creek Parks South 1300 East Janss Road Thousand Oaks, CA  91362

Ventura County Ambulatory Care Urgent Care Locations 

For pre-screening and appointment, call the hotline at 805-652-7660

Oxnard

Las Islas Family Medical Group- South 325 West Channel Islands Blvd. Oxnard, 93033 Open 7 days/week from 9am – 5pm

Magnolia Family Medical Center 2240 E. Gonzales Rd. Oxnard, 93036 Monday – Friday 8:30am – 5pm

Ventura

Academic Family Medicine Center 300 Hillmont Ave., Bldg. 340 Ventura, 93003 Monday – Saturday 9am – 4pm

West Ventura Medical Clinic 133 W. Santa Clara St. Ventura, 93001 Open 7 days/week from 9am – 5pm

Santa Clara River Valley Fillmore Family Medical Group 828 W. Ventura St. Fillmore, 93015 Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm

East County

Conejo Valley Family Medical Group 125 W. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Suite 200 Thousand Oaks, 91360 Open 7 days/week from 9:15am – 4:30pm

Sierra Vista Family Medical Clinic 1227 East Los Angeles Ave. Simi Valley, 93065 Monday – Saturday 9am – 5pm and Sundays 9am – 2pm

COVID-19 Testing Capacity Update From The County of Ventura

The County of Ventura is focused on the ability to monitor and protect our communities through testing, contact tracing, isolating and supporting those who are positive or exposed. These steps are critical on the path to reopening. Governor Newsom announced last week that the state is contracting with OptumServe to establish an additional 80 community testing sites in California to focus on high risk people including essential service workers. Two of the sites will be in the County of Ventura. Details about the sites will be announced very soon. The Governor provided 6 indicators for modifying the Stay-at-Home Order for the State yesterday. The presentation is attached. Testing is a key indicator.

Chief Deputy Director of the Ventura County Health Care Agency Barry Zimmerman provided an update on testing this week. View the update at  https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=903506680059069

City of Ojai COVID-19 Update for April 23, 2020

A video version of this update is available at https://youtu.be/lKmfC_7TPGI

We wanted to provide an update specifically regarding the County’s updated Public Health Order. As you may know, an order was released on April 18, with a revised order on April 20. We wanted to address some of the questions we received.

Here are some of the questions we’ve received:

  • Question: When does the new order expire?

Answer: 11:59 p.m. on May 15, 2020. It is important to note that it can be extended or modified at any time.

  • Question: Are we allowed to gather in groups of 5 now?

Answer: Generally, no, although the order does specify a few situations where small gatherings are allowed with social distancing requirements implemented. One example is a wedding, which is allowed with up to 10 people, if social distancing requirements are implemented.

  • Question: Can I reopen my business under the new order?

Answer: It depends. The April 18 County order appeared to add added exceptions for home businesses and “limited business operations” to reopen Limited business operations follow specific requirements laid out in the order. However, the revised April 20 order added language specifying that limited business operations are only allowed for businesses that are “necessary to maintain continuity of operations of the federal critical infrastructure sectors.” The complete list of businesses in those federal critical infrastructure sectors can be found with the order on vcemergency.com.

  • Question: Are face coverings required?

Answer: Face coverings are required at essential businesses in Ojai. In other words, if you are going to a grocery store, restaurant, or farmer’s market, please make sure to wear your face coverings. This is for your protection, as well as the protection of employees and customers.

  • Question: Can my family and I get exercise outside of the home?

Answer: Yes, but please maintain six-foot physical distance from other persons, wash hands with soap and water, and use hand sanitizers frequently.

  • Question: Can Senior’s get assistance obtaining food and supplies?

Answer: Yes, the Ventura County Area Agency on Aging is offering a full service food and supply pantry at no cost for Ventura County residents who are 60 or older, and people with disabilities. Two weeks food supply will be provided by delivery. Information is available at (805) 477-7300.

  • Question: Has the City of Ojai put any additional measures in place that are not in the County order?

Answer: Yes, the City will continue to implement regulations, requirements, and facility closures as needed to protect the health and safety of the community. Currently, the following are in place:

  • The City’s sports courts (tennis and pickleball) remain closed through May 1.
  • The  Farmer’s Market will continue to operate with enhanced restrictions, such as limits on numbers of customers, face masks required, reduced vendors, etc.
  • The City’s playground and skate park remain closed.
  • Picnic areas and barbecues at Sarzotti Park remain closed.
  • Traffic and parking will be regulated on North Signal Street to discourage crowds at the trails this weekend.

 

Here in Ojai, we wanted to say thank you to everyone for doing your part. We know that these requirements are difficult. We appreciate you.

Stay safe and healthy!

City of Ojai COVID-19 Update for April 21, 2020

Yesterday, we provided an update on the County Public Health Officer’s modified Stay Well at Home Order that went into effect on April 18 at 11:59 p.m. This morning, the County Public Health Officer released an amended order. The amended order, which replaces the April 18 order is included below.

The full, detailed order is available on vcemergency.com and ojaicity.org.

The amended order appears to place a limit on what types of businesses can operate with Limited Business Operations. It limits the businesses to those “necessary to maintain continuity of operations of the federal critical infrastructure sectors.”  The order also appears to remove the recently allowed gatherings of 5 or less.

We have been informed that the County will send information out later today regarding these changes. We will provide that information as soon as we receive it.

City of Ojai COVID-19 Update for April 20, 2020

The County Public Health Officer released a modified Stay Well at Home Order that went into effect yesterday morning. The order is a 19-page order that gives details on many issues, and is in effect through May 15. Some of the key modifications include:

Section 7 includes one key change, it allows businesses to operate as long as they have 10 or less employees at a facility in a 24-hour period, with no physical interaction with members of the public, no customers allowed in the facility, and goods must only be delivered to the purchaser’s place of residence of businesses.
Allows for gatherings of up to 5 people
Allows for gatherings in motor vehicles, with certain requirements, for faith-based services, concerts, plays, political speeches, movies and similar activities.
Reopens golf courses with physical distancing requirements
Allows bike shops to open
Permits in-person sale of vehicles

The County Public Health Officer noted that the modified order is possible because “our residents and businesses have sacrificed so much to comply with the Public Health Orders and have slowed the spread of the virus in our community.”

The full, detailed order is available on vcemergency.com and ojaicity.org.

Although this is a positive step, the City of Ojai must continue to take this matter seriously to protect our community. Although the curve is being flattened, we must remain diligent to protect the residences of our precious valley.

The City’s face covering requirement remains in place. We believe this is an essential element of protecting our community’s health and safety, and will be an essential part of our reopening procedures.

The City is also continuing to implement procedures to limit the amount of traffic on trails and ensure safety at the Farmer’s Market.

Finally, the City’s sport courts, skate park, and playground closures remain in effect through May 1, 2020. This is intended to limit large groups of people in close proximity, sharing and touching the same equipment. The picnic area, barbecue areas, and parking lot at Sarzotti Park is still closed to avoid large groups of people in small spaces.

We ask that you continue to do your part by practicing physical distancing by maintaining at least six-foot physical distance from other persons, washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer as frequently as possible, covering coughs or sneezes, regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces, and not shaking hands.

Stay safe and healthy!

James Vega – City Manager, City of Ojai

April 18, 2020 Stay Well at Home Order Update

 El Oficial Jefe de Salud Pública del Condado de Ventura, Doctor Robert Levin, ha anunciado la prolongación y modificación de la Orden “Mejor quédese en casa.”La Orden entra en vigencia el 18 de abril a las 11:59 p.m. y permanece vigente hasta las 11:59 p.m. el 15 de mayo de 2020

“Es entendible que los miembros de nuestra comunidad quieran regresar a sus lugares de trabajos y volver a una vida normal lo más pronto posible”, dijo Dr. Levin. “El mejor camino a seguir es uno de precaución – un camino en que procedemos poco a poco, con cuidado, y en etapas. Un camino que se basa en la ciencia y los hechos para determinar cada paso adelante. Los datos se ven bien, gracias a la diligencia de los miembros de nuestra comunidad en el seguimiento de estas órdenes, pero debemos ser cautelosos en la forma en que avanzamos. Debemos continuar salvando vidas y detener la propagación del COVID-19. Los miembros de la comunidad deben continuar practicando el distanciamiento social. De acuerdo con la Orden del Gobernador, revisaremos la Orden en dos semanas para evaluar cualquier modificación adicional”.

La Orden modificada permite excepciones para operaciones comerciales limitadas que permiten que las empresas que prestan servicios no públicos operen utilizando no más de 10 empleados, permite reuniones de hasta 5 personas, modifica la lista para incluir algunas otras empresas esenciales, permite reuniones en vehículos de motor, reabre campos de golf y otras formas de recreación con restricciones apropiadas, permite la apertura de tiendas de bicicletas y permite la venta de vehículos en persona.

“Estamos posicionados para enfocarnos en el camino hacia la reapertura porque nuestros residentes y negocios han sacrificado mucho para cumplir con las órdenes del Departamento de Salud Pública y frenar la propagación del virus en nuestra comunidad”, indicó Mike Powers, Funcionario Ejecutivo del Condado. “Nuestra situación actual se ve reforzada por el trabajo de nuestros hospitales locales para ampliar su capacidad”.

“Estos pasos son críticos porque sabemos que, aunque el virus presenta una amenaza a la salud sin precedentes, los esfuerzos para detener el virus vienen con un costo económico y sanitario que hemos visto con la clausura de tantas empresas y empleos perdidos”, enfatizó Powers. “Junto con los líderes empresariales en nuestra comunidad, incluso las ciudades locales, cameras de comercio, el Economic Development Collaborative, la Women’s Economic Ventures, la Workforce Development Board, la Fundación Comunitaria del Condado de Ventura y la Administración de Negocios Pequeños, el Condado continuará trabajando para apoyar los individuos y empresas impactadas”.

“Examinaremos los datos para ver el impacto que estos cambios tienen en nuestras tasas de casos del COVID-19. No espero ver nuevas tendencias durante aproximadamente 3 o 4 semanas. Si descubrimos que estamos perdiendo terreno, tendremos que hacer ajustes”, señaló el Dr. Levin.

La Orden de 19 páginas proporciona una guía clara y detalles sobre varias áreas. La Orden continúa protegiendo a las personas más vulnerables con una guía para los hospitales y centros de cuidado a largo-plazo. Esas personas que tienen 70 o más años con padecimientos y esas personas con 75 o más años de edad, tienen que permanecer en su lugar de residencia y cumplir con los requisitos del distanciamiento social en la mayor medida posible.

Permanecer en casa, tanto como sea posible, y practicar el distanciamiento social cuando se realizan negocios esenciales sigue siendo necesario. Se permite hacer ejercicio fuera del hogar, pero los gimnasios deben permanecer cerrados.

“Todavía no estamos fuera del peligro. Tenemos que continuar practicando el distanciamiento social para proteger a la comunidad. Seguimos ampliando la capacidad para realizar pruebas y nos enfocamos en proteger a las poblaciones que están en alto riesgo que incluyen las personas mayores, las personas sin hogar, y los trabajadores agrícolas valientes que trabajan todos los días para proporcionar comida para nuestras mesas”, agregó Powers.

https://vcportal.ventura.org/CEO/VCNC/2020-04-18_VCNC_PressRelease_ModifiedStayAtHomeOrder_span.pdf?fbclid=IwAR191zJgE23BU5g9jM1OTmGeOGI_nBj-jtHFoxjoPotZC8YgpCc9KkYA48o

https://www.vcemergency.com/covid19-sp

Stay Well At Home Order Modified

County of Ventura Public Health Officer, Doctor Robert Levin, has announced the extension and modification of the Stay Well At Home Order. The Order is in effect as of April 18 at 11:59 pm and shall be in effect until 11:59 pm on May 15, 2020.

“It’s understandable that our community members want to get back to work and return to normal life as quickly as possible,” said Doctor Robert Levin. “The best path forward is a cautious one — a path that proceeds gradually, carefully, and incrementally. A path that relies on science and facts to determine each step forward. The data is looking good, thanks to the diligence of our community members in following these Orders, but we must be cautious in how we move forward. We must continue to save lives and stop the spread of COVID-19. Community members must continue to practice social distancing. In line with the Governor’s Order, we will review the Order in two weeks to assess for any further modifications.”

The modified Order allows exceptions for limited business operations allowing nonpublic serving businesses to operate using no more than 10 employees, allows for gatherings of up to 5 people, modifies some essential businesses, allows for gatherings in motor vehicles, reopens golf courses and other forms of recreation with appropriate restrictions, allows bike shops to open and permits in-person sale of vehicles.

“We are positioned to focus on the road to reopening because our residents and businesses have sacrificed so much to comply with the Public Health Orders and slow the spread of the virus in our community,” said Mike Powers, Ventura County CEO. “Our current situation is further strengthened by the work of our local hospitals to expand their capacity.”

“These steps are critical because we know that, while the virus poses an unprecedented health threat, efforts to stem the virus come at a significant economic and health toll as we have seen with so many business closures and lost jobs,” Powers emphasized. “Along with the business leaders in our community, including local cities, chambers, the Economic Development Collaborative, Women’s Economic Ventures, the Workforce Development Board, Ventura County Community Foundation and Small Business Administration, the County will continue to work to support these impacted individuals and businesses.”

“We will scrutinize the data to see the impact these changes have on our rates of COVID-19. I don’t expect to see any new trends for about 3 or 4 weeks. If we find that we are losing ground, we’ll have to make adjustments,” said Dr. Levin.

The 19-page Order provides clear guidance and details on many areas. The Order continues to protect the most vulnerable with guidance for Hospitals and Long-Term Care Facilities. Those who are 70 or older with preexisting conditions and those 75 or older must remain in their place of residence and follow social distancing requirements to the greatest extent feasible.

Staying home, as much as possible, and practicing social distancing when conducting essential business continues to be required. Getting exercise outside of the home is permitted but gyms are to remain closed.

“We are not out of the woods. We must continue to practice social distancing to protect our community. We will continue to expand our testing capacity and focus on protecting populations most at risk including seniors, homeless, and the brave farmworkers who work every day to put food on our tables,” added Powers.

City of Ojai’s April 3 Update Regarding Coronavirus From City Manager James Vega and Police Chief Jose Rivera

A Video Version of this update is available at: https://youtu.be/XchiE2S1n9A

The City Council and staff at the City of Ojai and the Ojai Police Station are focused on responding to critical needs related to the Coronavirus. We wanted to take this time to tell you about some of the latest news, and actions here in Ojai related to this issue.

On March 31, the Public Health Officer for the County of Ventura issued an extended and updated “Stay Well at Home Order.” A copy of the order will be posted on our website. The order extends the expiration date to April 19, 2020.

There are some important items for City and Valley residents:

First, the order requires more specific procedures for take-out restaurants. It requires that all food be in a suitable container. For example, it notes that ice cream cones are not allowed, but ice cream scoops in a covered container are allowed. It also requires that food be consumed away from premises, and that persons waiting in line, whether within a restaurant or outside of a restaurant, must maintain a distance of six feet from others.

The notice also requires that essential businesses now limit their activities to essential goods and services. This means that the non-essential activities of a store shall stop. This is typically seen with big box stores, where they remained completely open and sold both essential and non-essential items.

The order also orders all public and private campgrounds and RV parks to close, except for persons who certify that their RV is their primary residence. Please see the full order at Ojaicity.org.

The coronavirus and these public health orders are requiring us to reconsider several activities within the City of Ojai. Two activities that we will be modifying to increase social and physical distancing this week include the Farmer’s Market and the Hiking Trails.

Regarding the Farmer’s Market, you may have heard that the City was working with the Farmer’s Market Management to put some restrictions in place that require more social distancing, and to avoid crowds. The City has been working with the Farmer’s Market Management throughout the week. Although we worked out some issues, as you may have read in the Ojai Valley News this morning, ultimately, last night we determined that there were still crowded areas that could not be managed at the current location.

We attempted to move the Farmer’s Market to a larger location where the booths can be spread out, but both the City and the Farmer’s Market Management felt that more time would be needed to resolve these issues. We will continue to work with the Farmer’s Market to put a plan in place and seek an alternative location that addresses any social distancing issues, but at this time, the Farmer’s Market is closed.

Regarding the trails, we have been closely monitoring the hiking trails over the last couple of weeks. We did notice an uptick in traffic on North Signal Street over the last two weekends, and had concerns that the parking areas would be congested and lead to a lack of social distancing. Beginning today, to address this issue, we will be closing North Signal Street, and only allowing local traffic, on the weekends. We will place signage on the streets, and we’re also using smartphone applications to indicate the road closure. We expect that this should reduce the number of people driving out and concentrating in one area.

We do not make these decisions lightly. We know that these decisions have a real impact on residents and businesses. However, the health and safety of our community is our priority. We are in a critical period of the fight against COVID-19. By acting now, we are fighting the spread, and these sacrifices could ultimately save lives. Please continue to stay home, wash your hands, and practice social and physical distancing when performing essential tasks. We are currently working on some additional resources, such as COVID safe construction guidelines. Please continue to check ojaicity.org or vcemergency.com for the latest information and updates

Stay Well At Home Order Modified

County of Ventura Public Health Officer, Doctor Robert Levin, has announced the extension and modification of the Stay Well At Home Order. The Order is in effect as of April 18 at 11:59 pm and shall be in effect until 11:59 pm on May 15, 2020.

“It’s understandable that our community members want to get back to work and return to normal life as quickly as possible,” said Doctor Robert Levin. “The best path forward is a cautious one — a path that proceeds gradually, carefully, and incrementally. A path that relies on science and facts to determine each step forward. The data is looking good, thanks to the diligence of our community members in following these Orders, but we must be cautious in how we move forward. We must continue to save lives and stop the spread of COVID-19. Community members must continue to practice social distancing. In line with the Governor’s Order, we will review the Order in two weeks to assess for any further modifications.”

The modified Order allows exceptions for limited business operations allowing nonpublic serving businesses to operate using no more than 10 employees, allows for gatherings of up to 5 people, modifies some essential businesses, allows for gatherings in motor vehicles, reopens golf courses and other forms of recreation with appropriate restrictions, allows bike shops to open and permits in-person sale of vehicles.

“We are positioned to focus on the road to reopening because our residents and businesses have sacrificed so much to comply with the Public Health Orders and slow the spread of the virus in our community,” said Mike Powers, Ventura County CEO. “Our current situation is further strengthened by the work of our local hospitals to expand their capacity.”

“These steps are critical because we know that, while the virus poses an unprecedented health threat, efforts to stem the virus come at a significant economic and health toll as we have seen with so many business closures and lost jobs,” Powers emphasized. “Along with the business leaders in our community, including local cities, chambers, the Economic Development Collaborative, Women’s Economic Ventures, the Workforce Development Board, Ventura County Community Foundation and Small Business Administration, the County will continue to work to support these impacted individuals and businesses.”

“We will scrutinize the data to see the impact these changes have on our rates of COVID-19. I don’t expect to see any new trends for about 3 or 4 weeks. If we find that we are losing ground, we’ll have to make adjustments,” said Dr. Levin.

The 19-page Order provides clear guidance and details on many areas. The Order continues to protect the most vulnerable with guidance for Hospitals and Long-Term Care Facilities. Those who are 70 or older with preexisting conditions and those 75 or older must remain in their place of residence and follow social distancing requirements to the greatest extent feasible.

Staying home, as much as possible, and practicing social distancing when conducting essential business continues to be required. Getting exercise outside of the home is permitted but gyms are to remain closed.

“We are not out of the woods. We must continue to practice social distancing to protect our community. We will continue to expand our testing capacity and focus on protecting populations most at risk including seniors, homeless, and the brave farmworkers who work every day to put food on our tables,” added Powers.

Ventura County Public Health Officer changes position on face masks

Ventura, CA – Ventura County Public Health Officer changes position on face masks, no longer advising against wearing them in public. Instead, he supports those residents who wish to cover their nose and mouth when leaving home for essential travel to doctor appointments, grocery shopping or pharmacy visits. The face coverings should not be hospital grade at this time because there is a shortage and our health professionals need them. Masks should be homemade and cover the nose and mouth. There are numerous sites online which demonstrate or give patterns for how to make fabric masks. The Camarillo Sewing Brigade provides video instruction at this link. Fabric masks can be washed and used again. 

The Ventura County Face Mask Opinion Press Release

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

To further combat the spread of COVID-19, Ventura County public Health Officer Dr. Robert Levin has issued a “Stay Well at Home” emergency order — ordering all residents of the County of Ventura to stay inside their residences, limiting all movement outside of their homes beyond what is absolutely necessary to take care of essential needs and ordering all non-essential businesses to close.

No cost COVID-19 testing is available for all community members at two state testing sites

Please register by calling 1-888-634-1123 or online at https://lhi.care/covidtesting Hours of operation: Monday through Friday 8 am to 8 pm. The sites are located at the Oxnard Performing Arts Center at 800 Hobson Way in Oxnard, CA 93030 and at the Thousand Oaks Library – Newbury Park Branch, 2331 Borchard Road, Newbury Park, CA 91320.

Testing for COVID-19

Testing for COVID-19has expanded to multiple locations throughout the County. Any Ventura County resident who meets the following criteria may schedule an appointment for testing by calling a State Location for essential workers, at 1-888-634-1123, or the County’s Ambulatory Urgent Care testing sites, at 805-652-7660. To be eligible for testing you must meet one of the two following criteria: 1. Symptomatic for COVID-19: any person with cough or shortness of breath OR two of the following symptoms: fever greater than 100.4F, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell. 2. Asymptomatic close contacts of a lab-confirmed COVID-19 case. More information at https://vcportal.ventura.org/covid19/docs/2020-05-03_Covid19Testing.pdf

Trolley Service – COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Preparedness and Schedule Change

Beginning Wednesday, March 25:  On weekdays, only Route A with extended service to 7:30pm will continue.  Route B is temporarily discontinued.  Weekend service will not change. 

 This provides 1-hour frequency trolleys instead of the normal ½ hour trolley frefrequency.  This change is posted at trolley stops and within trolleys.

 We are following the recommendations of health expert organizations, including the Ventura County Public Health Department and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and are continuing to monitor the issue very closely.  We have taken the following actions on the trolleys:

·         Additional cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as grab bars, farebox, and bus operator compartment with disinfectant throughout the day.

·         Reducing and spacing available seats to provide social distancing.

·         Placed visual alerts on trolleys to help trolley riders and drivers reduce the risk of transmission in accordance with CDC recommendations.


Effective March 18, 2020, City services will be exclusively available via email and phone communications. Social distancing will be practiced, meaning in-person service is suspended.

Staff will be onsite and ready to help. Please call or email to speak to the appropriate person:

Ojai Police Station: The Ojai Police Station remains open, please call (805) 646-1414 (Non-Emergency) or 911 for an emergency.

Public Meetings: Non-essential public meetings have been postponed or cancelled to prevent gatherings.

Planning Permits, Building Permits, and Business Licenses: To make arrangements for these services, please email Shari Herbruck at herbruck@ojaicity.org or call (805) 646-5581 ext. 112. For Business Licenses and Finance Services, please email Kristy Rivera at rivera@ojaicity.org or call (805) 646-5581 ext. 100.

Code Compliance: In-person code enforcement interactions with the public will be limited as much as possible. However, Code Enforcement is onsite and prepared to respond to needs.

Plan Review: Plans currently in for plan review will continue to be processed. A bin for plans has been placed in front of City Hall and will be checked on a regular basis. Staff will notify applicants when plans are ready for pick up. Please make sure to pick up plans promptly to make room for other outgoing plans. Please label your plans clearly with your name, phone number, address, and email address and make sure the bin remains closed. Applications for Planning and Building permits can be found at http://ojaicity.org/document-center/ . Forms should be filled out completely and emailed to herbruck@ojaicity.org . As with all new applications, the applicant should contact the Community Development Department for instructions, additional requirements, and fee amounts.

Inspections: All inspection requests will continue to be received either by phone or email. Inspections will be provided, as normal, with the following exceptions: inspections inside occupied residences will be limited to those essential for living and safety. Photos and video messaging may be considered for occupied interior inspections, for rudimentary work, when approved in advance and scheduled with the Building Inspector.

Job Site Considerations: All workers, and any others visiting worksites, need to take all safety precautions with respect to COVID-19. Among other things, the CDC has recommended against large gatherings, and respecting the recommended social distancing of 6 feet from other workers, where possible.

Public Works and Engineering Permits: To make arrangements for these services please email Andrea Mackey at amackey@ojaicity.org or call (805) 646-5581 ext. 209.

Park Rentals and Recreation Programs: The recreation center is closed and all programs have been postponed or canceled. For more information, please email Renee Peace at peace@ojaicity.org or call (805) 646-5581 ext. 390.

Payment of Permit and License Fees: To make arrangements for payments to the City, please contact Kristy Rivera at (805) 646-5581 ext. 100.

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