• Protect. Respect. Repeat!

    Community leaders encourage continued protection efforts as Santa Barbara County downgrades COVID threat level

    Community leaders are strongly encouraging county residents and businesses to continue efforts to protect families, businesses, and communities as Santa Barbara County moved to a lower COVID-19 threat level this week. The group launch ed an updated “Protect. Respect. Repeat!” campaign to encourage face coverings and other precautions to fight the pandemic locally.

    The downgrade from a purple to red COVID-19 risk level is evidence that efforts to slow the spread of the virus through social distancing, wearing face masks, and other practices are working. But members of the “Protect. Respect. Repeat!” are asking community members to stay vigilant and keep those practices in place to protect the health and safety of their loved ones and neighbors and support the region’s economic recovery.

    “The people and businesses in our county have worked hard to meet the state-mandated metrics, and the county’s ability to downgrade the risk level affirms that effort,” says Glenn Morris, President/CEO of Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce. “But we can’t let our guards down now. Individually, we must continue wearing our masks, washing our hands, and keeping our distance in public if we want to keep making progress and re-open our economy even further.” 

    “Now’s the time to double down, not slack off,” he adds. 

    “Marian has seen the impacts of COVID-19 firsthand,” says Sue Andersen, President/CEO at Marian Regional Medical Center. “While we have experienced a decline in the number of coronavirus cases at our facility, we encourage community members to continue to do their part to protect themselves, even among their closest family and friends.  As our community begins to reopen, we ask the public to keep masking, social-distancing, and hand-washing to maintain the progress we have made.”

    The “Protect. Respect. Wear Your Mask.” campaign debuted in Northern Santa Barbara County in May and expanded county-wide over the summer. The campaign was created as part of a partnership between the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce, the cities of Santa Maria, Lompoc and Guadalupe, Marian Regional Medical Center, Allan Hancock College, and other community stakeholders. The campaign utilized a media campaign to urge residents to wear masks in public spaces to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

    As the county seeks to lower its COVID-19 risk level and continues reopening efforts, CDC still recommends that people wear a cloth face covering over their nose and mouth in community settings. This is a public health measure people should continue taking to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in addition to (not instead of) social distancing, frequent hand cleaning, and other everyday preventive actions. A cloth face covering is not intended to protect the wearer but may prevent the spread of the virus from the wearer to others. This is especially important if someone is infected but does not have symptoms. A cloth face covering should be worn whenever people go into public settings.

    For more information, visit www.protectrespect.org.