FROM VACCINES AND VARIANTS, TO RESOURCES AND REAL ESTATE
Santa Barbara is officially open after COVID-19. However, don’t expect business as was usual pre-2020. California’s new normal follows the evolving executive orders that began with the initial emergency declaration last year. As things change, so do our health and wellness recommendations. That’s why I put together this Santa Barbara COVID Survival Guide.
First of all, in accordance with Santa Barbara County Public Health, as of August 6, 2021 all individuals ages 2 and older are required to wear a face-covering in indoor settings, regardless of vaccination status.
The Latest Regarding COVID-19 Variants
According to the CDC, COVID-19 continues to spread in the United States and variants are circulating. You can take steps to protect yourself from the virus and its variants by getting a COVID-19 vaccine and taking other safety precautions including avoiding crowds and washing your hands often.
Santa Barbara County residents are urged to call their doctor immediately for guidance if they develop symptoms, or visit Cottage CareNow for a COVID-19 assessment and guidance. The county also offers a free, confidential health and human services hotline available 24/7 for anyone in distress. Call 2-1-1 or (800) 400-1572 to talk to a specialist in the areas of mental wellness, substance abuse, and more.
Nearly 70% of Santa Barbara County residents are at least partially vaccinated, and to date, 52% of the estimated 453,500 residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. People are considered fully vaccinated by the CDC two weeks after the second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines or two weeks after the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Local school districts plan to return to in-person classes, with universal masking. Still, everyone 12+ years of age is eligible to be vaccinated, with minors only authorized for the Pfizer vaccine. The city encourages all parents or guardians to accompany their child, but, if it is not possible, the County Public Health Department will accept a signed consent form.
The University of California system is requiring that all students, staff, and faculty are fully vaccinated against the novel coronavirus before they will be allowed back on campus this year, with exemptions for medical or religious reasons.
Residents can schedule their FREE COVID-19 vaccination at any CVS Pharmacy, Rite Aid, Walgreens, or Ralphs – or just walk in. If you prefer to visit your own healthcare provider in person, you need to call ahead and make an appointment so precautions can be taken to prevent the spread of germs. In addition, Santa Barbara City College and Allan Hancock College have been hosting vaccination clinics on their campuses, and SBCC has a walk-in clinic on campus from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursdays. Local hospital vaccination clinics are also available. Visit the county website, publichealthsbc.org/vaccine, or state locator, myturn.ca.gov, to find a provider near you. Or text your zip code to GETVAX (438829) to get a list of nearby vaccination sites.
Multiple free community coronavirus testing sites are open in Santa Maria, Lompoc, Buellton, Santa Barbara, and Goleta. Appointments are required at all locations.
Embrace the Great Outdoors
A Santa Barbara COVID Survival Guide would be incomplete without a nod to our outdoor blessings. Lucky for us who live here, there’s no better way to enjoy a meal than by pairing it with seaside views and the splendor of the great outdoors. That’s why Santa Barbara’s restaurant community is maximizing its outdoor dining space, creatively expanding its alfresco footprint. You can feel safe and socially distanced while savoring regional cuisine at dozens of restaurants around town.
In addition, local boutiques and retailers have carefully curated this season’s most fashionable finds, while the area’s magnificent parks and gardens offer more than just a pleasant outdoor activity. Studies show that spending time in a garden can relieve stress and make you happy.
We also have an abundance of outdoor activities to enjoy. Our beaches are one of our community’s most prized resources. That’s why surf culture runs in Santa Barbara’s DNA. We’ve got a line-up of stellar breaks, from the mellow waves of Leadbetter Beach to the more challenging windswept Jalama Beach County Park. If stand-up paddleboarding or kayaking is more your speed, there are plenty of opportunities for those types of water adventures here too.
If you want to stay on land, there are several bike paths suitable for all levels from the novice to the more experienced cyclers and mountain bikers. Plus, all area golf courses are all up and running. And don’t forget the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club. The 2021 Polo season runs through October.
For those interested in exploring our local architectural and historic landmarks, try one of our popular self-guided tours. While you might not be able to go inside every building at this time, you can appreciate their exterior beauty and elegance from the outside.
Resources for Montecito and Santa Barbara Homeowners:
The Santa Barbara County Joint Information Center has been producing a daily summary to highlight COVID-19 information and resources for more than a year now, and it deserves star billing in our COVID Survival Guide. Santa Barbara real estate owners will find updated info on almost everything they need to know. Topics include breaking news and how to care for someone who’s ill, to business resources, status reports, provider alerts, economic recovery and more.
Emotional Wellness Strategies Continue
Local experts recommend these practical coping strategies designed with COVID-19 information and resources for Santa Barbara in mind. And the good news is that many gyms and studios are opening again. Here’s a list of things to do to help your emotional health:
- Practice mindfulness and relaxation exercises
- Stay connected by phone, electronically, or in-person
- Keep current connections strong
- Stay informed through reliable sources
- Limit your screen time
- Eat healthily and drink plenty of water
- Call elderly and housebound friends and neighbors to see how they are feeling. Bring them meals and special treats, being mindful of their vulnerability and susceptibility.
- Play board games with your kids
- Read to your children and have them read to you
- Take on a home project
- Work in the garden
- Get outside – go for walks, runs, and hikes
The COVID Year and Local Real Estate
As I noted previously, 2020 was a record-setting year for the Montecito and Santa Barbara real estate market. In a recent post, I shared my own record-setting success, which continues to this day. The market here remains HOT! If you’ve been on the fence about selling, I suggest you do it now.
I feel so blessed and safe to live in a community like ours where residents, elected officials, and local businesses look out for one another. At the same time, I realize moving can bring its own stressors. My clients know I’m here to help minimize the stress of buying or selling a home.
I’m here for you as well if you’re considering a move to, or within, Montecito or Santa Barbara. Just give me a call or drop me an email and let’s talk. You can contact me for all your Montecito and Santa Barbara real estate needs at Cristal@Montecito-Estate.com or by calling (805) 886-9378.