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Coronavirus: Ventura County Eases Restrictions Opening Some Businesses, Allowing Small Gatherings

VENTURA (CBSLA) — Ventura County officials announced Monday that because residents have complied with the Safer-at-Home order to slow the spread of coronavirus, they are now easing parts of their restrictions by reopening some businesses and allowing small gatherings.

"Our county has done a wonderful and incredible job of quarantining and social distancing. We're grateful for that and any success that we've seen is due to you and your efforts," said Ventura County Public Health Officer Dr. Robert Levin.

"It's understandable that our community wants to get back to work and we have some elements in this order, which allows our community to get back to work."

On Saturday, Ventura County modified its Stay-at-Home order, allowing certain businesses that don't serve or face the public, to operate with no more than 10 employees.

As of Monday, gatherings of up to five people and gatherings in motor vehicles were allowed again. Golf courses were also allowed to reopen with restrictions.

It was announced that bike shops were permitted to reopen as well as in-person sales of vehicles.

"Ventura is a place that has got this figured out and I"m really happy for them," said Westlake Village resident Jim Stark.

Golfers at a Ventura County golf course said they took advantage of the modified rules while practicing social distancing.

"From what I can tell, everyone has been pretty safe, wearing masks, not touching anything...our own clubs and balls," said Rancho Park resident Brian Messing.

Ventura County officials also reopened county-run parks and beaches with limited access last Friday.

On Monday, Los Angeles County Health officials asked residents not to go to Ventura to take advantage of the changes because it could overwhelm the county and L.A. residents could be exposed there and bring the infection back.

"I don't think that these orders are encouraging that or support that. For instance, we are still going to have parking restrictions around our beaches and around our parks. And so really only locals will be able to access them," said Levin.

Levin said they will look closely at the data with these changes over the next few weeks and make adjustments if they believe the spread of the virus is spreading rapidly again. The new stay at home order is in place through May 15.

"We need to keep you committed to quarantine and we need to keep you committed to social distancing," he said.

Beaches and parks run by the city of Ventura remain closed, but the city said it will consider reopening them after they have reviewed the county's amended order at a city council meeting Monday night.

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