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Ventura County Lifts More Restrictions On Businesses And Gatherings

People wait in line at Godspeaker Calvary Chapel sanctuary on Palm Sunday, Despite state and local public health ordering churches, being deemed non-essential, to close, the Newbury Park church opened its doors for a Communion service. (APU GOMES/AFP via Getty Images)
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Ventura County is beginning to lift some restrictions of its stay-at-home orders.

Parks have reopened and golf courses will now too. Small gatherings of no more than five people will be permitted, as will non-essential businesses that do not interact with the public.

And that’s only if they operate with fewer than 10 employees and observe physical distancing.

Ventura County CEO Mike Powers told NBC4 the easing of restrictions will be gradual:

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"But it's a reflection of the work that they’re doing and their commitment. And that if we keep going in this direction and we all lean in together, we’re going to get through ... this"

Ventura County officials are still advising anyone over 70 or with preexisting medical conditions to continue sheltering at home. And the modifications also came at the same time county officials extended orders to May 15 that had initially scheduled to expire last night.

The county of about 846,000 residents has reported 416 confirmed COVID-19 and 13 deaths as of Saturday. Roughly 200 county residents are currently in quarantine. Ventura County officials say they intend to increase testing capacity, and that if coronavirus infections increase again, these restrictions will go back into place.

Here's a look at how Ventura County compares to the rest of the state, courtesy of the JSK Journalism Fellowships at Stanford University and the Big Local News group, in partnership with the Google News Initiative.

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