On June 15, 2021 the State of California will reopen and while some limited measures will remain in place, Californians will see life returning to the normal we once knew. Santa Barbara County will keep the current masking guidance until June 15, and after that, things will start to look even brighter as we head into the summer months!

At the time of writing, Santa Barbara County data showed the percentage of eligible population fully vaccinated to be at more than 64 percent. Since April 21, restaurants, gyms, wineries and breweries, movie theaters, museums, the zoo, places of worship and retail businesses have been open in Santa Barbara County with limited capacities. But very soon, everyday life will start to feel even more like the normal we knew before COVID-19, as the above mentioned businesses will open to full capacity in Santa Barbara without social distancing requirements after June 15.

june15 santa barbara maskless

California officially ditches the mask mandate on June 15; however, please note, anyone can still feel free to wear a mask anytime they’d like, especially around children or others who might be vulnerable or have not yet received their vaccination. Of course, The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) strongly encourages residents to sign up to https://myturn.ca.gov/ to find out when it’s your turn to get vaccinated.

Masks and maskless in Santa Barbara, indoors and outdoors

As per the Santa Barbara County website, “everyone should remember that outdoor activities are much lower risk than indoor activities…,” so make sure to take advantage of the warm summer weather on the Central Coast and enjoy some of these popular warm weather activities in Santa Barbara. In the meantime, and before July 15, county public health officer, Dr. Henning Ansorg said, vaccinated people do not need to wear a mask outside, and unvaccinated people can also go maskless outdoors if social distancing is observed. He also added that fully vaccinated people can entertain other fully vaccinated people without masks if they are in their own home and not in public.

After June 15, some outdoor activities that are considered “mega-events,” will have certain public health measures remain in effect. Concerts, sporting events and festivals (5,000+ indoors; 10,000+ outdoors) will have recommendations and/or requirements for confirming proof of vaccination. And youth day camps must follow specific portions of the state’s K-12 school guidance, according to CDPH. Click here for more information.

As we move forward into and past the summer, California will keep a close eye on COVID-19 vaccination and infection rates and keep these guidelines in place until at least October 1, 2021. The state will also continue to monitor many COVID-19 variants. The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department COVID-19 dashboard will also continue to be updated. You can read the most recent variant data reported by the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, which partners with Cottage Health and UC Santa Barbara to research variants present in the community. Knowing this data helps provide some peace of mind, as data revealed less than 2 % and less than 1 % of those classified as “variants of concern” or “variants of interest.”

Feeling anxious easing back into life after COVID-19? Here are a few tips that will help you feel at ease while returning to normal in Santa Barbara.

It’s important to note that Santa Barbara County recently met the least restrictive “yellow tier” criteria, reporting just a 0.7% testing positivity rate, which is a decline from the previous week. So even though the whole tier system is set to be eliminated on June 15, rest assured, Santa Barbara County has been heading in the right direction, as per its daily numbers. According to a June 3 Noozhawk report, there was a 38 percent decrease in new cases when compared to the week before. “The county averaged seven daily COVID-19 hospitalizations and just under three intensive-care unit admissions over the past week,” according to the article.

If you’re still uneasy, that’s normal. Some people may be more comfortable returning back to previous ways of life quickly, while others might be more cautious for any number of valid reasons. Some might also feel a bit of pressure from friends or family to step outside of one’s comfort zone before ready to do so. If you feel anxious, the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department listed a few tips to help you ease safely back into life after the pandemic ends and restrictions begin to lift in California on June 15.

  1. Remember, even though masking guidelines will be relaxed, you can still wear a mask if you’re more comfortable. You can also choose to stay in outdoor settings or remain at a comfortable distance from others.
  2. Choose activities that do not involve large crowds of people if you’re not yet comfortable, have personal health concerns or have not yet been vaccinated. Choose to reconnect in smaller group settings or one-on-one with a friend or family member who has been vaccinated and/or if you mutually choose to wear masks.
  3. Be kind and patient with yourself and this process. You may want to choose one of the many outdoor and open spaces in Santa Barbara to help you feel more at ease. Opt for a maskless walk at Shoreline Park, bring your dog to Hendry’s Beach, go for a long bike ride or a hike in the Santa Ynez Mountains. Check out our list of stress-relieving outdoor activities in Santa Barbara to soothe your body and mind.

The good news is, there are plenty of wide, open spaces in Santa Barbara County where you can breathe easy (with or without a mask!). But if you are keen to get back to the restaurant scene and enjoy a glass of wine or craft beer in the Funk Zone, or if you can’t wait to shop the boutiques on State Street, you can feel more secure that Santa Barbara County Public Health Department keeps the public updated with regular reports, which you can check here.

California’s public health department will also continue to provide updated guidance for healthcare settings and other high-risk congregate settings, which Santa Barbara County may follow. You can read more about the CDPH guidance at: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/Beyond-Blueprint-Framework.aspx

Where to stay in Santa Barbara when the mask mandate lifts on June 15, 2021

We expect the summer months to book especially quickly this summer as California lifts the mask mandate. If you want to stay in a vacation rental home that’s ideally located near outdoor activities or popular attractions in Santa Barbara, search our short-term and long-term rentals. Most homes are either a short walk or quick bike ride away from Santa Barbara’s popular attractions, restaurants, shops, beaches and parks. Search your dates for a maskless vacation in Santa Barbara this summer.