At the recommendation of the California Department of Public Health, Santa Barbara County Health Officer Henning Ansorg mandated the closure of bars in the county on Monday. 

The new order will begin on July 1 at 8 a.m. and end on July 26 at 5 p.m. or “until it is extended, rescinded, superseded, or amended in writing,” according to a press release from the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department.

Bars in Santa Barbara County began reopening in early June during the county’s third phase of reopening, the Santa Maria Times reported. But after coronavirus cases surged in recent weeks, the California Public Health Department put Santa Barbara County on its “watch list” and recommended the closure of bars.

Under the new order, brewpubs, breweries, bars and pubs can remain open, however, as long as they offer sit down, dine-in meals, according to the press release. Alcohol may only be served in the same transaction as a sit-down meal. 

Facilities that serve alcohol and do not offer sit-down meals but wish to remain open must obtain an emergency food permit, according to the press release. Wineries and tasting rooms are exempt from the new order. 

“We have made the decision to close bars to be in compliance with State guidance, especially since our case count continues to rise day by day,” Ansorg said in the press release. “This action, particularly in anticipation of the holiday weekend, is a proactive measure to curb the spread of COVID-19 locally.” 

In May, The Study Hall, one of two bars in Isla Vista, was open for business in violation of the state and county stay-at-home orders — and phase two guidelines — after it was seen serving at least 10 people without masks who were not taking social distancing measures. 

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