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By Chris Frost
Oxnard-- In his report to the city council, March 16, City Manager Alex Nguyen announced that Ventura County has relaxed its Covid-19 restrictions and moved to the red tier, effective March 17.
This means that retail businesses and malls can open at 50 percent capacity, and churches can open at 25 percent capacity. Common areas remain closed, and food courts are open with limited capacity at malls.
Movie theaters are open with modifications at 25 percent capacity, and hotels and lodging are open with modifications, including 10 percent capacity for fitness centers.
Gyms and fitness centers are open at 10 percent capacity, and restaurants are open indoors at 25 percent capacity, up to 100 people, whichever is fewer. Outdoor live events with assigned seating and controlled mixing are open with limitations, and there will be no live audiences until April 1, 2021.
Nguyen said moving from the purple to red tier means they're making progress.
"The state's rent relief program is beginning,” he said. "It's very important for all our people who need help with rent, due to not being able to pay throughout this pandemic that you seek the help. The city and county staff are here to help, but this program is being administered by the state. On the city's website, we have the links to the applications in English and Spanish. If you have any specific questions, there is a rent relief hotline that you can call. That number is 833-430-2122 between the hours of 7 a.m. and p.m. daily. There is a lot of money available specifically for City of Oxnard residents."
The county is administering the business assistance program, he said, which is specific to businesses and non-profit organizations in Oxnard.
"You can be eligible for $5,000 grants from this program," he said. "The key information here is the site, VCbusinessgrants.org. The pre-registration window is scheduled for the week of March 24-30. The application window is March 31 through April 6. It's a tight window, but that's why we're getting the information out there."
Effective March 17, all outdoor sports can resume in Ventura County. High contact outdoor sports can only resume if the coaches and players 13 years and older are tested weekly. Test results must be available within 24 hours of competition. All coaches and spectators must wear face coverings. Athletes must wear face coverings if they're not in the competition. People can access all the guidelines from the county's website.
Ventura County has two vaccination sites in Oxnard, including the Rose Avenue Clinic at the former Babies R Us location, 2340 N Rose Avenue, and South Oxnard Public Health (Outdoor) at the parking lot at 2500 South C Street.
"There are guidelines about who is eligible, but the list changes every several weeks," Nguyen said. "You do have to register for an appointment. We also have a satellite site at the Southwinds Youth Center, 300 West Clara Street, open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. by appointment."