County health officials warn that spike in cases could lead to backslide, more closures in weeks ahead

SLO County logoSan Luis Obispo County Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein affirmed today that more San Luis Obispo County businesses can reopen indoor operations with modifications and capacity limits – per the State’s tiered, color-coded Blueprint for a Safer Economy – but warns of a potential backslide as new COVID-19 cases spike this week.

Today SLO County met the State’s red tier case rate and positivity rate criteria for two consecutive weeks. As a result, the risk of COVID-19 in SLO County has been downgraded from widespread to substantial, and SLO County can now move from the purple tier – the most restrictive tier – to the red tier effective immediately.

“While we celebrate this small success, we must stay vigilant,” Dr. Borenstein added. “Our progress depends on each person in SLO County. We need everyone to do their part to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community.”

The State’s Blueprint allows counties in the red tier to reopen indoor operations for some additional business sectors and allows for certain activities to resume. Local businesses must follow all State guidance for their industry and self-certify that they are ready to reopen.

“Outdoor operations remain the safest environment to slow the spread of COVID-19 and should be supported whenever feasible,” Dr. Borenstein said. “If we see an increase in the spread of COVID-19 here, we will move back to purple and most indoor operations will close again very soon.”

Recent case investigations have identified cases spread between different households at gatherings. The nature of these gatherings (bringing together people from multiple households for a prolonged time, often indoors or with shared food and beverages) creates the perfect environment for COVID-19 to spread easily and quickly.

All residents should take protective actions to limit the spread of COVID-19 in SLO County: wear a face covering in public, stay at least six feet from others outside of your household, stay home when you are sick, wash your hands often, and get tested for COVID-19.

For updates on COVID-19 in SLO County, visit or call the recorded Public Health Information Line at (805) 788-2903. A staffed phone assistance center at (805) 543-2444 is available Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to assist with COVID-19 questions.