SAN MATEO COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- The access roads to most of Half Moon Bay's beaches are closed, with signs warning that the beaches will be closed for the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
"People have been coming to the beach and not social distancing. And it's been kind of scary, the volume of people coming over here," said Lisa Zadek.
Zadek, who lives in Half Moon Bay, said she was relieved to learn that her city is closing its beaches.
"We have been following the cases on the coast. We have been pretty lucky, but we did have one person pass away over here. It's everywhere. So, we just want to be as safe as possible," says Zadek.
On Thursday evening, Half Moon Bay's visitors bureau tweeted that it was a "difficult decision to close area beaches over the July 4th holiday weekend," which went into effect Friday morning at sunrise.
Gov. Gavin Newsom is not mandating that Bay Area beaches close for the Fourth of July holiday weekend. But the cities of Half Moon Bay and Pacifica went the extra step to close in effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 during the holiday weekend, which often draws huge crowds to the beaches.
"We know increase in coronavirus cases is directly linked to gathering of large groups, that's what happens, we see record number of beach-goers on the weekend, including Fourth of July, so we are just asking people to stay away one more weekend. We want you here. We need you here, but just not this weekend," said Pacifica Mayor Deirdre Martin on Wednesday.
Despite efforts to warn people, not everyone is heeding the message to stay away. A small number of people were fishing, biking and surfing Friday morning, along with others on walks or riding their bikes on the beach trails.
"I don't particularly like it. I think it's a matter of government control, over controlling people," says Joel Thompson, who recently moved to Half Moon Bay.
Thompson and his partner were on their usual morning walk. He says the beaches have been open other holidays, and to close now is just politics.
"For the most part, I think we are hyper-sensationalizing the pandemic in order to create an atmosphere of fear and control over the people. And it's a political move, if you ask me," says Thompson.
The beaches will be closed until Monday.
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