Stay-at-home order: Ventura County seeks to break away from SoCal, form new tri-county region

Ventura County wants to band together with Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties to create a 'Central Coast' region.
VENTURA, Calif. (KABC) -- As a new regional stay-at-home-order went into effect for Southern California, three counties - Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo - have plans to form its own smaller region that could possibly exclude them from the restrictions.

The three counties will seek state approval to form a new "Central Coast" region if the tri-county intensive care unit capacity at hospitals is above 15% in the next three weeks.

"The high prevalence of disease in the large southern California counties could prevent the three counties from exiting the Regional Stay At Home Order under the current Southern California Regional approach," Ventura County officials said in a news release. "Being kept in the Southern California Region any longer could cause preventable educational and economic hardships to communities in the Central Coast Region."

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As California hospitals struggle amid a surge in coronavirus cases, state officials imposed a new stay home order on more than 33 million people.

Under Gov. Gavin Newsom's new Regional Stay-At-Home Order, regions implement sweeping health restrictions and business closures if the region's ICU capacity drops below 15%.

Ventura, Santa Barbara San Luis Obispo and eight other counties currently form the Southern California region under Newsom's plan.

The smaller Central Coast region would include around 1.5 million people. As a whole, the Southern California region has more than 23 million people.

"A smaller regional approach is important for our community members and struggling businesses. We believe it's reasonable to have the Central Coast as one region instead of including our County with over half the State's population in the current Southern California Region," said Ventura County Executive Officer Mike Powers.

Santa Barbara County Supervisor Steve Lavagnino announced in a Facebook post the Board of Supervisors plans to vote Tuesday on sending a letter to the state to request the county be placed in a Central Coast region.

Southern California's stay-at-home order went into effect Sunday at 11:59 p.m. and will be in place for at least three weeks.
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